Opinion: South Carolina’s Gov. Mark Sanford admits to affair


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Today’s news out of South Carolina is a reminder of three important rules in politics: It isn’t the incident, it is the attempted coverup. It isn’t about sex, it’s about hypocrisy. Schadenfreude always wins in the end.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has admitted having an affair with a “dear, dear” friend in Argentina. That explains why he disappeared for days without telling his wife or staff his whereabouts. Trying to cover for the boss, his staff told everyone he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, only to be embarrassed by today’s announcement.


At a nationally televised news conference, Sanford apologized to his wife, family and people of faith all over the nation for his actions. A strong political conservative, he said he would step aside as head of the Republican Governors Assn. as well. He looked extremely tired and at times appeared on the verge of tears. He took a few questions, among them:

“Were you alone in Argentina?”

“Obviously not,” he replied.

It is unclear what the announcement means for any presidential ambitions he may have. Or for the GOP in general. Nevada Sen. John Ensign, another Republican who some saw as having presidential potential, recently admitted that he had an extramarital affair.

-- Michael Muskal

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South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford pauses to look at his notes as he admits to having an affair during a news conference Wednesday, June 24, 2009, and that was the reason why he was in Argentina. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)