South Carolina Governor’s Mystery Vacation: Is He a Tango Addict?*

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  06.24.09 | 1:07 PM ET

Photo by Ana_Cotta via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

Nobody seemed to know where South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was for days. His wife said she didn’t know but wasn’t worried. His staff said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. The police got involved.

Well, today the governor emerged at the Atlanta airport saying work had been stressful and he had gone to Buenos Aires because he needed a vacation and “wanted to do something exotic.” He said he spent the week driving the Argentine coastline.

Some don’t buy his story. Speculation about what he was really doing is rampant. Talking Points Memo has put together a handy timeline of events surrounding the mystery trip.

Anyone have any good theories?

Call me crazy, but I’m going to suggest the governor did indeed go to Argentina—because he has a tango addiction. I have no evidence for this. I just like the idea of it and think it would make for a good HBO movie.

Come clean, governor. Is it tango? If it is, it’s OK with us.

*Update 11:37 a.m. PT: Well, I was close. The governor gave a press conference clearing up the mystery. It was a tango of a different sort.

*Update 4:34 p.m. PT: Gawker commenter flossy has the line of the day on the mixed messages earlier about the governor’s whereabouts: “In all fairness to his aides, “I’m getting some Argentinian tail” sounds a lot like “I’m hiking the Appalachian trail” when you’re on a fuzzy satelite phone connection. Who hasn’t had that kind of innocent misunderstanding?”

36 Comments for South Carolina Governor’s Mystery Vacation: Is He a Tango Addict?*

BeachGuy 06.24.09 | 3:56 PM ET

Now we know where he went! Don’t cry for me, Argentina….First Ensign, now Sanford? How come Republicans are getting all the action? Maybe I need to change parties.

Johny 06.24.09 | 4:03 PM ET

Who cares! and why this media PR stunt?
Save some bytes;

ken 06.24.09 | 4:31 PM ET

Oh boy - these lawmakers can t keep it in there pants. Its amazing they can prosecute people and tax human vises etc. yet when they get caught they look like jerks. Well he ought to resign-he can go hang out with the rest of them.

James 06.24.09 | 4:32 PM ET

Isn’t the republican party supposed to be made up of honest, family oriented, christian people?  When did screwing everyone you meet become an act of Christ?  I’m so sick and tired of the Republican party and their closed minded supporters telling people how to live their lives “morally” when none of them can!  America needs a revolution in which we get rid of all these bigoted, double standard basterds!!

Pope 06.24.09 | 4:37 PM ET

This idiot is a no show for Father’s Day with his four kids and he leaves his wife to answer questions. Class A jerk . His behavior shows a total disregard for everyone he is supposed to be looking out for, his family and the state of South Carolina.  Then he stands up and cries about it…...Give this guy a kleenex and a one way ticket to Argentina then burn his passport.  Loser.

ken 06.24.09 | 4:38 PM ET

i guess power corrupts.  Most of these pols run around. The republicans are however more preachy
with respect to the morality issue.

playjojo 06.24.09 | 5:09 PM ET

Wait a minute.  That can’t be right!  He’s a politician!  That’s unheard of!  Oh well, at least he sorry and showing some tears.  PU-LEEEEAAAAASSSEEE!!!!!!!!  Can anyone tell me how these people get so far in politics wth the scrutinany they supposedly go through?  Their brains go immediatly to their crotch once in, because they completely forget the eyes of the world - state are on them.  The power of politics is obviously an afrodisiac.

jflow 06.24.09 | 5:13 PM ET

Politicians have always been this way, why is this new? It’s as if it’s their privelege to keep the image of “family” the wife, is nothing more than a prop, and they feel like they have the right to their concubines and mistresses, or gay rendezvous in bathroom stalls….so? This is pretty age-old. The more attention you give to this, the more people think they have a right to judge, when they probably live less than perfect lives themselves. Who cares? That’s the real issue.

Ron 06.24.09 | 5:41 PM ET

Well I would like it’s only Republicans, but too many policitians from all parties are doing this.  And these are usually the same people who criticizes other people doing same thing they it.  Example Gingrich was having an affair at the same time Clinton was, but of course he wouldn’t at the time admit to it.  Our country’s government system needs to be redone I think.

Indus 06.24.09 | 6:08 PM ET

Donít cry for me, Argentina

What a moran… He could have simply said I am going on a vacation and could have drilled the hole down under instead of all these Applachian Trail BS.

Ron 06.24.09 | 6:09 PM ET

Something else I wanted to mention.  The Republicans are the ones who joined up with the religious right for “family moral values”.  Something smells rotten in the state of Denmark now doesn’t it.  Oh yeah I forgot, if you apologize and cry your eyes out.  That makes everything all better,. Isn’t that right Rev. Swaggart? A Pentecostal preacher at that.

Charlie West 06.24.09 | 6:21 PM ET

South Carolinians like me can be proud! All we need to do is impeach governor Sanders and then instead of a Governor who thinks with his STICK instead of his BRAIN we can have a Governor who thinks with his FOOT (Andre Bauer’s mostly unpunished speeding tickets)

pazyfe 06.24.09 | 6:26 PM ET

Puhleeeze Senor, we knew this, if your wife does not know where you are, and you have the buhzongahs to leave instructions ” do not disturb i am gone for a week,” Senor where else are ya going to be, praying with the monks or on a Bible retreat.??????.............NOT NADA NUNCA mi amorcito.

Busted…........and please know this is not the first time you have done this !!!!!

andy 06.24.09 | 6:46 PM ET

One day a hard-nosed arrogant governor, who states that God is on his side, without caring for the hurting residents of his state and the next day crying in front of the camera asking for forgiveness for cheating on his family and on the people who elected him. Once again, the republicans show that on the outside they are mostly lying hypocrites who claim they are the true and good Americans; that is until they are caught. They do not represent me and most honest Christian people I know. Quit, you lying cheater, and give SC a chance to elect a decent person. As far as your wife and family, they should not give you a second chance as Iím sure this is neither a first time affair nor just a short affair. You represent the most disgusting part of the American character and once again it is the republicans who prove they are outside the decent morality.

marlene looney 06.24.09 | 6:55 PM ET

Well, again we find the “moral majority” being imperfect humans like the rest of us including me-the atheist.  I don’t need their god to tell me what is right and wrong.  I know when I should keep my clothes on.  I know to give my spouse the respect that he deserves if I should ever find myself in a situation where I could endanger the promises that I made to him at our marriage twenty three years ago.  Too much testosterone in the Republican party!!!

Ron Lockwitch 06.24.09 | 7:01 PM ET

This is why I don’t trust most Christians.  There are a lot very nice ones, but this these types that put a sour note on the whole religious thing.  He is a hypocrite.  And they, he should be very ashamed of himself, especially because he left his kids on Father’s Day and no one didn’t even know where he went.  For all they could have known he was dead.  And what about this “special friend” what kind of a person is she for letting him do this to his kids.  They impeached Clinton for almost the same thing, he is the governor he should not just pick up and disappear like that.

Ron 06.24.09 | 7:06 PM ET

Well I’m totally against the Republican party, but I do have to say it’s just not Republicans,(someone smack me for saying this!) it’s all over the board.  There should be some kind of a clause when running and being elected to a public office that you will Act responsible and that means KEEPING YOUR CLOTHES on while in office.  They need to have some respect for themselves, their community and not last their FAMILY!

david n 06.24.09 | 7:07 PM ET

I am a SC resident. I like Mark Sanford and think he’s done a good job as Governor. I stood behind his decision to fight to apply the stimulus money to the debt first and believe that stimulus money should not be doled out to any state with the strings of federal control attached. This situation with Sanford and his affair, seems to be a private one. It is between he and his wife, and he and God. I think if people can forgive an Edwards, a Democrat, they certainly should be able to forgive a Sanford. You know the old passage, “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

The greater concern is on two fronts. One, everyone goes on vacation. Every Governor occasionally leaves his state. However, in his absence, it is incumbent on that Governor to leave instructions on how he might be reached and that the Lt. Governor should be notified that he is in charge in case of an emergency. Did he do that? The other concern is what this does to his future career and the overall effect on the image of the Republican Party, which is so desperately trying to find itself again. Obviously, this kills his chances of being President. And, of course the liberals in SC are going to jump all over this opportunity to call for his resignation as Governor (and the press will give them all the help they need to deliver that message). They are also going to jump all over this situation to try to get a Democrat elected as Governor. (You know politics, if you can’t win with policy, win with dirt!)

Personally, I would hate to see Sanford go. Too bad he left the screen door open for the flies!

George Bush 06.24.09 | 7:31 PM ET

Crying today after crapping all over others he condemns .... What a surprise. 

I wonder if faithful republicans will ever get the point—their party has always been a cynical sales pitch to “use” those who are afraid of others:  Afraid of gay people.  Afraid of black people.  Afraid of Islamic people.  Afraid of non-Christians and atheitsts.  Afraid someone will take away their guns. 

Like they need an AK47 to feel like a man…  No, just cheat on your wife and family —its the Republican way.

Ron 06.24.09 | 7:35 PM ET

You are correct.  The only people that should be concerned is his wife, family, god,and the woman who he having the affair with.  But that said they didn’t leave Clinton or Spitzner, or Edwards alone(all democrats) And Edwards lost his changes of running because of it.  Clinton was impeached because of lying about his affair.  Which is a little different. With your governor the way it sounds is he just left without notifying anyone . This was made worse because he’s a father and left over the holiday. I feel sorry for the kids. They aren’t very old are they?  They do deserve vacations, but what is being said no one knew where he was.  It actually isn’t a party thing, it’s the politicians get a big ego and think they can do whatever they want and that is totally wrong.

Brian 06.24.09 | 7:41 PM ET

I think it’s hilarious that it’s always the bible thumping republicans who get caught cheating on their wives…practice what you preach or shut up! Don’t tell me I’m immoral cuz I’m gay when y’all are the ones committing things like adultery…but seriously Gov. Sanford, writing love notes via email?... sounds like you need some improvement in the romantic department my friend

Julia Ross 06.24.09 | 8:21 PM ET

Jim, thanks for calling out that Gawker comment. *hilarious*

Tim S. 06.24.09 | 8:35 PM ET

Once again, the Christian-haters and character assassins come out in full force to cry “hypocrite!”.  As a Christian man in his 40’s, husband and father, I struggle daily with lust and sexual temptation. It’s normal, and I know the destructive effects of giving in.

But in my opinion, anyone who attacks this man for giving into lust, are also hypocrites.

Instead of applauding him for his wild fornicating and giving in to what they really want, a new Sodom and Gomorrah on earth, they attack him. They should be thankful that he’s helpful the cause of “sexual decendance and speeding the decline of everything moral and decent.”

That means we’re ALL hypocritical, which now separates us between those trying to promote abstinence,  morality, family values and God….and those who see the human body as just body parts and will look for pleasure in every orafice they can find.

Ron 06.24.09 | 8:54 PM ET

I don’t think anyone here is a Christian hater.  They are stating that it’s the so-called Christians that condenm others for doing the same thing.  That is a hypocrite.  It is natural, but as a father you would have thought he would have took his Children int consideration. I personally do not trust some Christians, the fact that I don’t trust them doesn’t mean I’m a Christian hater.

Vernon 06.24.09 | 9:43 PM ET

SOMEBODY please tell Clinton to give him a call and ask him—How does it feel?

Balertwine 06.24.09 | 9:52 PM ET

Fruitcake.  This guy’s a fruitcake.  He’s a nutzo, lost-his-mind fruitcake.

Steve 06.25.09 | 6:55 AM ET

What Sanford did isn’t the same thing as what Clinton did.  Sure, they both had affairs, but Sanford left the country and did it overseas.  Clinton took Lewinsky into the White House and did it in the Oval Office, deployed troops to their death while she was under the desk - literally - and allowed her to overhear conversations that involved national security.  THAT was Clinton’s error as far as I’m concerned - the compromise of national security.  Sanford was just having an affair.  Clinton put the nation’s troops at risk.  Big difference.

olympia 06.25.09 | 8:04 AM ET

So many comments about Republicans and Democrats. This is a lot simpler: It’s about one thing and one thing only: LUST. The guy is in that danger-zone age close to 60, where many men get tired of their wives, want to feel young again, and an extramerital affair usually follows. It’s a difficult thing sticking to your values, especially if you are a powerful man like him, which usually attracts many women. I wish he had stuck to his values, I wish he had honored his family and his position, but he didn’t.  As to what he did to his family, only his family has a saying as to whether they forgive him or not. As a citizen, I am very displeased he left office like that over a woman; maybe resigning would be the right thing to do.

pam 06.25.09 | 8:55 AM ET

I can’t BELIEVE you called it, Jim. Well done. Well done. I’m calling you next time I can’t find my car keys.

ssbn732 06.25.09 | 12:19 PM ET

I am in no way supporting this fool in what he did.  But let’s stay back and think about this for a minute.  Does it really matter what this fool did.  I could care less about what he does in his bedroom in South Carolina or in Argentina.

Republicans preach morality and get caught time and time with their pants down
Democrats think it’s no body’s business on who is doing who in a bedroom unless it is a republican.

Remember that the being a Politician is the first sign that a person has very little moral or ethical vaule.

So screw who you want but lower my taxes and stop screwing me.

Lindsay 06.25.09 | 2:43 PM ET

As much as I enjoy bashing Republicans this is not unique to one party or another. Plenty of people cheat on their spouses, chances are his wife knew what he was up to. You think she doesnt enjoy being a senators wife? The only unfortunate thing for him is a) he is a republican and b) he got caught. You play with fire, youre gonna get burned!

Mack 06.26.09 | 5:06 AM ET

Thanks For sharing this post. Nice post.

Joey 06.26.09 | 11:40 AM ET

I am amazed at everyone on this board ready to condemn ALL of Christianity based on this. The political party stuff is just a joke, given the number of prominent Democrats that have cheated in the last couple of years, but that is just typical partisan bickering. Calling all Christians hypocrites because of this guy is like calling all Muslims terrorists because a few prominent Muslims are. Nobody is perfect, and almost any Christian will be the first to tell you that Christians are not perfect. Why is it so wrong to strive to be a better person though? Why is it wrong for people to strive to maintain a high moral standard? And the biggest question, WHY oh WHY are so many of you so ready to gleefully revel in the failing of somebody you disagree with? It sounds incredibly hateful to me - you hate Christians and Republicans, and you salivate at any opportunity like this one.

Steve 06.26.09 | 12:54 PM ET

Joey - Brilliant comment, thank you.

Tim S. 06.26.09 | 1:47 PM ET

Hypocrisy seems to be the Crime of the Century to liberals.

Meanwhile, it’s okay to have sex with anything that moves, teach elementary school kids about the “gay option”, and kill millions of babies due to “sexual promiscuity and irresponsibility”.

Devorah Aikman 07.25.09 | 8:56 AM ET


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