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Thinking Before He Speaks? Not in Sanford's DNA

Gov. Mark Sanford; his mistress, Maria Belen Chapur; and his wife, Jenny. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain; AP Photo/C5N TV; AP Photo/Alice Keeney)

Did you think Mark Sanford had already told us everything he possibly could about his extramarital affair? Wrong! Turns out the South Carolina governor, in last week's meandering, melodramatic press conference/soliloquy (from details of his high school hiking trips to misty memories of "that whole sparking thing"), was just warming up for yesterday's epic overshare session with the Associated Press.

New revelation: "This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story. A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day."
Our take-home: He's really not just some sex-crazed jerk like all those other politicians!

New revelation: He "let his guard down in all senses of the word" with other women -- while he was married, before he met Maria Belen Chapur -- but "didn't cross the sex line."
Our take-home: He's a sex-crazed jerk who doesn't go all the way.

New revelation: These casual encounters with other women happened outside the United States while he was on trips to "blow off steam" with male friends.
Our take-home: Sex doesn't count if (a) you're drunk, (b) with the guys, (c) in a foreign country. (To paraphrase George Segal in "A Touch of Class": "I'm never unfaithful to my wife in the same city.")

New revelation: His relationship with Chapur sparked on a dance floor in 2001, and turned intimate during a government trip to Brazil and Argentina in June 2008. That's when he started freaking out: "Now I am frightened," he said, describing his state of mind at the time. "It was, before, safe. But now it's not safe. We gotta put the genie back in the bottle."
Our take-home: You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, either.

New revelation: He saw her more than he originally disclosed -- five times in the past year, including two romantic, multi-night assignations in New York (one in Manhattan, one in the Hamptons). He flew coach, paid for hotels in cash and told his staff he was reachable via cellphone. "At that point I was very careful, everything was paid for in cash."
Our take-home: The lovesick puppy somehow had the presence of mind to cover his tracks, avoid incriminating receipts and otherwise conduct his trysts without leaving a trail.

New revelation: First lady Jenny Sanford discovered the affair in January when she found a letter from her husband to his mistress; the couple went into counseling. (Jenny told AP that he asked her for permission several times to visit Chapur. She refused.)
Our take-home: Marriage counseling is not going well if your husband keeps begging to see his girlfriend.

New revelation: After his wife found out about the affair, he dashed to New York to break up with Chapur -- chaperoned by his spiritual adviser. The governor, mistress and adviser went to church and had dinner together.
Our take-home: What grown-up needs a "chaperone" to break up with his girlfriend? Here's who: a guy who doesn't want to give up his hot Argentine lover.

New revelation: Chapur is his "soul mate," but he's trying to fall back in love with his wife.
Our take-home: Run, Jenny, run! Trust us, you do not want to spend the rest of your life waiting for someone "trying" to fall back in love with you.

By The Reliable Source  |  July 1, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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My take on this southern gothic roman?

Does he have no friend to save him from himself? He's such a drama queen. An, then, his friends, political allies, spiritual adviser, wife, enemies -- all racing to out-jaw him and each other. They're all enjoying this a little -- tee hee -- too much.

He'll serve out his term (if he isn't impeached, arrested or committed) and then go on to pen something sappy. The reviews will savage him, allowing him to retreat quietly to his old plantation home where he can plow the fertile fields at midnight (supplemented by oh-so-necessary jaunts south of the border to blow off steam) knowing that he truly lived because he truly loved.

Jenny will "maintain her dignity" and run for office (and win). She won't divorce him, although she may allow for quiet annulment after a very long separation.) The boys will all take to drink.

Fair Maria? Her grand oligarchical family will lock her away, her only friend the family priest, a man who understands true love denied. Mea culpa.

Posted by: dadada | July 1, 2009 4:10 AM | Report abuse

Second take?

Other women are coming out of the woodwork.

Posted by: dadada | July 1, 2009 4:20 AM | Report abuse

Third take?

The Brits would make a helluva political thriller out of this. (Did you ever see "The Minister's Wife". Damn.)

Fourth take?

Or, would this be better served up in novel or play?

Posted by: dadada | July 1, 2009 4:25 AM | Report abuse


He gave this 2-day 3-hour interview starting the day AFTER a weekend spending time with his family, including a trip to the plantation with them to see Ma?

Not to beat a dead husband, but he bought his plane ticket weeks before (with a ten-day trip planned) and he couldn't schedule around Father's Day?

Wonder which boys he went south of the border with to blow off steam? Tom Davis? The Tom Davises of the world? Cubby? (ick)

The man is insane.

I'm insane for knowing any of this. But I can't stop!

Posted by: dadada | July 1, 2009 4:59 AM | Report abuse

Sanford has not lost his political senses at all. Rather, he is being counseled by "confessional" Christian friends who have encouraged him to let it all hang out now (and all at once) so that future revelations of other assignations of whatever kind do not shut down his chance to remain Governor and to reconcile (if he wishes) with his wife and children. Smart? Perhaps not...but it makes good political sense in South Carolina.

Real integrity might be to follow his heart to Argentina and Maria -- and let Jenny start a new life herself with the boys.

Posted by: radbwana | July 1, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Following his heart to Argentina will occur once his governorship ends -- now or at the end of his term.

Posted by: radbwana | July 1, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Mark Sanford has always been one to follow the beat of a different drummer. Too bad he's in public office 'leading' his state in a questionable direction!

Reliable Source's comments are wryly accurate - not much hope of putting this genie back in the lamp. And it makes for good reading - shades (pale Republican ones to be sure) of Huey Long here.

Posted by: davidfairfax | July 1, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

It is disingenuous to schedule a 10 day trip to BA and then say the purpose of the trip was to break off the relationship. I thought that was what the chaperoned trip to NYC was for -- to break it off.

Clearly he thought the 10 day break-off was going to be even better than the NYC break-off. If it had gone undetected I'm sure there would have been more meetings to break it off.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 1, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

"Run, Jenny, run" is right. Geez - that guy is a twinkie, a flake and an idiot. I can't even listen to him anymore - he acts like "poor little me". Ick.

Posted by: MILW | July 1, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

He will continue to try to humiliate his wife until she really shows him the door. Then he will be able to cry "victim" and ride off into the sunset with Maria.

Posted by: jackdmom | July 1, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

'Follow his heart'? Please; the man is a narcissist: he loves no one and nothing but himself. Horrible.

Posted by: owl1 | July 1, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Sanford and Maria are "in love" the way a couple of 16 y.o.s are in love.

OMG, we are sooooooooo in love 4evr! And my wife, she totally doesn't understand!!

The best punishment would be for him to move to Argentina and for the pair to really have to make a go of it.

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

Sanford is a jerk of the highest order. He only cares about himself. A lot of the information he is now sharing is only humiliating his wife and boys - why - because he only cares for himself.

Posted by: rlj611 | July 1, 2009 4:55 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 11:11 PM | Report abuse

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