Thursday, June 25, 2009

South Carolina Governor Sanford admits extramarital affair

South Carolina Governor Sanford admits extramarital affair
By Matthew Bigg
ATLANTA (Reuters) - South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford tearfully admitted on Wednesday he had been unfaithful to his wife, likely ending any chance he might be a Republican contender for the U.S. presidency in 2012.
Sanford resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors' Association and was replaced by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, another possible 2012 candidate.
"Any aspirations for 2012, if he had any, are certainly out of the question," said Robert Oldendick, a political scientist at the University of South Carolina.
Sanford's confession at a tumultuous news conference ended days of speculation over his whereabouts. After he disappeared last week, his staff first said he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. It later emerged he had traveled to Argentina to be with his lover, leaving his family over Father's Day weekend.
Asked if he was alone during the Argentina trip, he replied: "Obviously not".
Shedding tears, Sanford apologized to his wife Jenny, his family, friends and staff when he made the shock announcement after returning on Wednesday from Buenos Aires.
Admitting his affair, Sanford said he had "developed a relationship" with a "dear friend" from Argentina.
"It began very innocently, as I suspect many of these things do, in just a casual e-mail back and forth," he said.
"But here recently over this last year it developed into something much more than that. And as a consequence, I hurt her. I hurt you all. I hurt my wife. I hurt my boys. I hurt friends ... I hurt a lot of different folks."
Sanford was one of several Republican governors seen as possible 2012 presidential candidates. Others include Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Minnesota's Tim Pawlenty, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
As chairman of the Republican Governors' Association, Sanford has been one of the party's most visible spokesmen at a time when its fortunes in Washington are at a low ebb.
Last week, Senator John Ensign, another potential Republican presidential contender in 2012, announced he had an affair and resigned from the Senate leadership.
HIKING STORY
Apologizing for his "selfishness", Sanford asked for "a zone of privacy" for his wife Jenny and their four sons.
He did not identify the woman in the affair, whom he said was separated from her husband and had two boys. Continued...
Source: Reuters

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