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Sanford's Confession Tour Catch-Phrase

A new sex scandal, a new catch-phrase. Bill Clinton gave us, “it depends what the meaning of is ‘is.’” John Edwards offered up this keeper: “Being 99 percent honest is no longer enough.” Now comes South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to discuss “the ultimate line” -- the one he crossed with his Argentine “soul mate” but not with other women he met on “blowing off steam” trips with the boys.

As Sanford continued his self-immolating confession tour, he told the Associated Press, “There were a handful of instances wherein I crossed the lines I shouldn't have crossed as a married man, but never crossed the ultimate line." And, "What I would say is that I've never had sex with another woman. Have I done stupid? I have. You know you meet someone. You dance with them. You go to a place where you probably shouldn't have gone....So anyway, without wandering into that field we'll just say that I let my guard down in all senses of the word without ever crossing the line that I crossed with this situation."

To digress for one moment, what’s with Sanford’s weird affinity for the word “wherein?” In one email to Maria Chapur, his mistress, he writes, “you opened up a new chapter last week wherein I was happy and content just being.” In another, “I better stop now least [sic] this really sound like the Thornbirds -- wherein I was always upset with Richard Chamberlain for not dropping his ambitions and running into Maggie’s arms.” There’s something sad about Sanford’s inability to ditch his inherent stodginess even in the grip of passion.

At the same time, there’s something infuriating about the male notion of the ultimate line. Note to husband: the ultimate line is the one between thinking and doing, bud. Certainly, Sanford is not alone in this linguistic, um, salami-slicing. Clinton, of course, insisted that he did not have sexual relations with that woman. Chuck Robb admitted getting a nude massage alone in a hotel room from a former Miss Virginia. Perhaps these distinctions make the erring husbands feel better. Somehow I doubt their wives would agree.

By Ruth Marcus  | July 1, 2009; 12:44 PM ET
Categories:  Marcus  | Tags:  Ruth Marcus  
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What infuriates me is his description of the affair as a "tragic love story". The real tragic love story is your marriage, buddy. The ideal wife is back at home while he flies away--over Father's Day weekend, no less--to a foreign country with his "soul mate". I guess he thinks that if he plays it off as "true love" then he gets a pass! Sanford's euphemisms are sickening, and so is anyone who is minimizing this situation. Sanford didn't just cheat his wife: He cheated this whole state. Adulterous affairs are only a symptom of a bigger character flaw (an apparent flagrant disregard for reality, to start). The taxpayers here payed for his transgressions. It doesn't matter if he pays it all back. He should be legally bound to do so, anyway.

Posted by: haneyml | July 1, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Sanford basically trashed his marriage with the "soulmate" comment and in doing so destroyed all credibility he had remaining- if any- with the female 50% of South Carolina voters. Many males would be disgusted and/or bemused by the love-sick puppy-dog aspects of all this. But overall, this is rapidly becoming a public spectacle in the category of Brittany Spears, Lindsay Lohan or Michael Jackson. Even Bill and Hillary Clinton were more dignified than this; and that's saying a lot. If he won't resign, then South Carolina legislature needs to step up to the plate the way the Illinois legislature did and just get rid of the guy, politically.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | July 1, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

This man is obviously crying out loud for help to absolve him of his responsibilities to his wife, kids and the state. He can't seem to be able to take the responsibility himself, it's like he wants the people in SC to remove him, then for his wife to finally say "No Way" which will allow him to take the route of Argentina with explanation that everyone threw him out.

Posted by: candida1 | July 1, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

What "field" would that be? Does he mean like a strawberry field? Maybe a blueberry field? Or does he mean a moral mine field, say with a close resemblence to Normandy as an analogic depiction? Or maybe a "field" that has stone inscriptions laying in it?

Posted by: deepthroat21 | July 1, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps we should understand, should see, how such a whiney, constant adolescent,

one whose career was paid for by his wealthy wife,

would go over the edge when some hot Latin babe gave him a look, undoubtedly for his title, not hisself?

HOW, Oh HOW, he will suffer when she sidles away. Like she will stay loyally with put such an unhot (oh please) manly man? Try not to laugh.

Posted by: whistling | July 1, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Apart from the fascination of watching this guy reveal himself as a total idiot, why are we still letting Sanford set the conversational agenda focusing on who and who isn't his soul mate? Do the taxpayers of SC really not care about a chief executive who has just handed them a whole new take on pork? About a governor who ditched his security, went into hiding and was unreachable for days? About a leader who hands out moral advice to the rest of the world but doesn't think it applies to him? Good grief. The tragedy in this love story is that apparently all you think you have to do is say you're sorry. (He did say that, didn't he?)

Posted by: mmfleming1 | July 1, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The real villain here is the definition of marriage as a social institution uniting a man and a woman, rather than a living covenant between two consenting adults. Clearly, Sanford dropped his consent on numerous occasions. Now let his wife do the same -- for good.

And let the rest of us learn new language for why that is the right thing for her to do.

Posted by: revelz | July 1, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Your article kind of gives the, "Honey"! "I'm home"! salutation a whole new meaning. The man is obviously having some kind of 'meltdown'. He's not alone on that one..... But can he still govern?

Posted by: deepthroat21 | July 1, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Dude is clearly not happy in his marriage. So he should have the fortitude to file for divorce and accept the consequences. Maybe then he'll shut up about "family values."

Posted by: wp11234 | July 1, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Also, he should resign, not because he cheated on his qife, but because he went AWOL. This is unacceptable under any circumstances.

Posted by: wp11234 | July 1, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Really interesting commentary on where the ultimate line lies from a member of Sanford's faith:

Posted by: roobius | July 1, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Mark Sanford and Marie Chapur deserve each other! That relationship is doomed to failure. Jenny deserves better than this. Since marriage is important to her, I hope she is eventually blessed with a loving, respectful husband that cherishes his wife and stepsons. After all, those boys need a good fatherly influence so this bad behavior doesn't become generational.

Posted by: doxy1 | July 1, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I think Sanford's "ultimate line" is the decision to use the governor's expense account to fund a getaway with one of his extra ladies.

As Governor Mark pushes the limits of tolerable public discourse by a public official thee must be several women in the world getting nervous about his proclivity to be kiss and tell.

This man doe snot have a clue about a normal guy's code of discreet silence in matters of the heart.

Posted by: roboturkey | July 1, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

What was his true reason for confessing his relationship with the mistress? Was it to avoid deposition hearings regarding his actions where he would be bound under oath and sworn to tell the truth or face a vote for immediate impeachment ala Bill Clinton?

Was it to buy nationwide sympathy so that he wouldn't be forced to face such hearings?

I hope that he is placed under review and made to testify about his misappropriation of state funds and made to face legal consequences about being AWOL. There is no reason the public should be paying for his sexcapades with his mistress. In hard times like these, if the citizens of a state can't rely on a governor then who are they supposed to rely on?

Impeach the doofus or force him to resign, let him take care of his personal life, and place someone more adequately responsible in his place.

Posted by: kinokonoko | July 1, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe any person in his right mind (especially one who espouses Christianity) would continue to hurt his family by referring to his mistress as his "soulmate" and talk about how much he loves her. I hope this philanderer does end up with her. He will find that living with her on a day to day basis is not nearly as exciting as suggestive emails, phone calls and clandestine visits. (Now we know why he has been ditching his security when he left home.) Would he be able to remain faithful to one woman, and would a woman who encouraged a married father of four young sons remain interested in him alone? Do leopards change their spots? It appears as if this one is not interested in doing so. I think his family and the state of South Carolina deserve someone much more clear headed and dedicated than Mark Sanford.

Posted by: Sammie7 | July 1, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

LOVE STORY??? Can you say "cheesy bodice ripper?" It is staggering to hear media talking heads opine about the "difference" between a one-night-stand and an affair. Balderdash. Never have so many wannabe Dear Abbys reported on such garbage. Poignant? Passionate? How about scummy, lying behavior by the father of four, husband of one, governor of many. Out with him! Any Lt Gov would be a better governor than this slimy man.

Posted by: suzeq | July 1, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Mark Sanford is a narcissist. He cannot stop talking about things that are private because he thinks the world is an interested in him as he is in himself.

Jenny Sanford is just another woman willing to let a man get away with anything. She seems to think there is some sort of marriage to work on saving. How insulting is it to have your husband announce that his tawdry affair is a tragic love story that involves his soulmate? That just doesn't leave much room for Jenny, does it?

Posted by: arancia12 | July 1, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Just why did the Governor talk to AP on Tuesday, anyway? Simple: he's paving the way for his next job.

He told reporters that he counseled Ms. Chapur on her failing marriage.

Look out Dr. Phil!


Posted by: MikeLicht | July 1, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Still waiting for the announcement from RNC Chair Michael Steele as to when and where Sanford's public stoning will be held. For years now we've been listening to these fools quote from a Bronze Age religious artifact about how "God" hates gays. Well, that same book prescribes death by stoning for adultery.

While I think that sentence rather barbaric for those of us dwelling in the 21st century, it should be strictly enforced for members of the domestic Taliban who have been trying to push that book onto the developed segment of America. You cannot have it both ways. Either shut up with the quotes from an archeological relic, or obey the thing 100%.

Posted by: B2O2 | July 1, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps a career in romance novels awaits Mr. Sanford.

Posted by: jfern03 | July 1, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

It's quite simple. He keeps bringing it up because he thinks he can change the narrative to one where he is the victim. This just proves he does not understand. One more time Sanford: You cheated on your spouse and used taxpayer money to do so. You have previously stated that these are offences for which public officials should resign. You said these were your principles. The only way remaining for you to prove that you ever had any commitment to these principles is to resign.

Posted by: Bostwick | July 1, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

This carnival could not have happened to a more deserving group of people, the voters of South Carolina. Their tendency to support holier-than-thou hypocrites or idiots resulted in the national tragedy of Y2000. It isn't Sanford who is the laughing stock of the country, it's the narrow minded populace which turns out to vote for the Sanfords and Bushes of the world.

Posted by: cuznbill | July 1, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Sanford is completely blind to his situation. This is because he is SELFISH, SELF-ABSORBED, ARROGANT, IMMATURE and smarmy, too. He is ripping his family to shreds while spilling his guts about his schoolboy crush on an Argentine skank. News flash, Governor: It's NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. You have a WIFE who supported your ambitions for over two decades and gave you four lovely SONS. How do you think they feel when you whine about hoping to "fall in love again" with your wife/ their mom (again, it's "all about you") AND you send emails to the mistress rhapsodizing about how you want to help HER son in his chosen career? MAN UP, YOU IDIOT. You made a commitment to YOUR family. Love is not just a feeling. Of course, if I were your wife or child, at this point I would be so throughly disgusted with you, you might never win me back. But you are a total amoral moron if you don't grovel, beg their forgiveness, shut your public mouth and act like a MAN. News flash #2, Governor: Despite your tears and flowery words, there is nothing romantic about your story. You are NOT a tragic hero, NOT a star-crossed lover, and NOT Romeo--You are a goat following a bunch of pheromones. Get over yourself. You cannot hope to build a life on the wreckage of your family.

Posted by: charlotteWise | July 2, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Mark Sanford needs to stop talking. Now.
He thinks he's a better man for only crossing the ultimate line once. He thinks that by calling his affair a love story all can be forgiven. He's wrong.
Sometimes in life you have to stop polishing your faults and own up to them. Sometimes there's no talking your way out of a bad situation, and the more you talk, the sillier you sound.

Posted by: 49orfight | July 2, 2009 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Sandford's rambling discourse to AP on "soul mates" was enough to either send you into fits of laughter or fits of vomiting.

For Jenny's sake, I hope he does not "try" too hard to fall in love with her again. She is far better off without the cheatin'liar.

Oh, and good luck to SC.

Posted by: rmrobrita22 | July 2, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who isn't now outraged by any politician sanctimoniously bloviating about "the sanctity of marriage" and "family values" is as dumb as a box of rocks.

Posted by: Bodoc | July 2, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh that wicked Argentine Jezebel; see what happens when a woman gets hold of an innocent man! LOL

Posted by: sellingpencils | July 2, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Marcus cannot help herself. She has to bring in Clinton. However, she conveniently omits the straying GOPers -- many of them Bible-thumping hypocrites --:
Livingston, Gingrich, Giuliani, Cunningham, Craig, Foley (he of the ubnderage pages), Vitter, Ensign, Ted Haggard... Am I forgetting anybody? Probably.

Posted by: Gatsby1 | July 2, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Marriage is not about feelings - it's about responsibilities. As the author pointed out, the line is between thinking and doing. Everyone *thinks* about what it might be like with that hot/cute person over yonder. But we swear vows not to *act* on those thoughts.

It doesn't seem that Sanford ever really understood this. Since he seems to think being "stupid" with the boys doesn't itself cross any important line, one must conclude he still doesn't get it.

If a promise is only good if he isn't tempted, what was the point of making it in the first place?

Posted by: JeffRandom | July 2, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

The more I read or hear, the more I realize Mark only cares for himself. His sons will carry this in their hearts for the rest of their lives. Did Mark's father do the same?, therefore he felt that it was OK when "you want to blow off" When you met Maria in New York last fall twice. Once just before Jenny was to arrive, and the other when you had returned to states from foreign trip. Who paid for those extra nights and the extra fees for the airline fares for you and Maria. Were you paying all of her expenses or were they charged to Republican Governors group that you were representing at that time?

Posted by: jan6 | July 6, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

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