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The Two Faces of   Governor Mark Sanford



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governor Mark Sandford

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governor Mark Sandford

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Mark Sandford

We will leave it up to the reader to determine whether Governor Mark Sanford has made serious errors in in judgment.  Governor Sanford has supported a Conservative Christian position especially when it comes to Church and State issues.  It is apparent from the data collected, that the first amendment may be in danger from his past and future actions.

Governor Mark Sanford's office like others we called, stated that his position is that Shintoism, Buddhism, Wicca aren't "Real" religions."  What is a real religion, Mr. Sanford?  What you have been practicing?  Read the following and remember: "By their Works may they be known."  This is a summary of information collected from several sources about Governor Mark Sanford.

(Remember it is best to investigate on your own when looking at allegations about anyone.     Don't believe us, think for yourself and investigate for yourself!  And remember, the Religious Freedom Coalition does not represent any political party nor do we recommend any political candidate, nor are we involving ourselves in the political process.  This information is only for students of Governor Mark Sanford)


Marshall Clement "Mark" Sanford, Jr. (born May 28, 1960) is an American politician from South Carolina, currently serving as the Governor of South Carolina. From 1995 to 2001, he served as the Republican representative in the United States House of Representatives for South Carolina's 1st congressional district, and was a staunch conservative with an independent streak. In 2002, he was elected the 115th Governor of South Carolina, defeating Democratic incumbent Jim Hodges and became notable for his contentious relationship with the South Carolina legislature.

Sanford was reelected Governor in 2006, campaigning against pork barrel spending. In office, notably, he rejected stimulus funds for his state from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 but later took it so that it would not be distributed to other states.

Sanford's governorship has been put into doubt by extended disappearances he recently revealed to be part of an extramarital affair with an Argentinian woman who has been identified as María Belén Chapur. Until June 24, 2009, he was the chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Sanford is also a real estate developer and Air Force Reserve captain.

Early life

Marshall Clement Sanford, Jr. was born on May 28, 1960, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, son of Marshall Clement Sanford, Sr., a cardiologist, and his wife, the former Peggy Pitts. Before his senior year of high school, Sanford moved with his family to the 3,000 acre (1,214 hectare) Coosaw Plantation near Beaufort, South Carolina from Fort Lauderdale. Sanford attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

He received a B.A. in Business from Furman University in 1983 and an MBA from Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia in 1988.

After graduating from Furman University his first job was as an associate for Coldwell Banker in 1983. He then worked as a project manager for Beachside Real Estate at the Isle of Palms, with Pat McKinney and Frank Brumley between 1984–1986. In 1987 while working towards his MBA he was trained at Goldman Sachs. After graduating with his MBA he took a position as a financial analyst with Chemical Realty Corporation (1988–1990). At the end of 1990 he moved back to Charleston, South Carolina and worked as a real estate broker on Daniel Island for Brumley Company (1990–1991).

Sanford founded Norton and Sanford Real Estate Investment, a leasing and brokerage company, in 1992. He still owns the company.[4] In the early 1990s he moved to Sullivan's Island, South Carolina with his wife Jenny and their four boys, Marshall, Landon, Bolton, and Blake.



Then-Congressman Mark Sanford

In 1994, Sanford entered the Republican primary for the Charleston-based 1st Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. The seat had come open after Republican four-term incumbent Arthur Ravenel gave it up to make an unsuccessful run for governor. Despite having never run for office before, he finished second in a crowded primary behind Van Hipp, Jr, a former George H. W. Bush Administration official. Sanford defeated Hipp in the runoff, and easily won the November general election. He was reelected twice, both times facing only minor-party opposition.

While in Congress, Sanford was a staunch conservative (he garnered a lifetime rating of 92 from the American Conservative Union, opposing gay civil unions and abortion for example), but displayed an occasional independent streak. He was known for voting against bills that otherwise got unanimous support. For example, he voted against a bill that preserved sites linked to the Underground Railroad. He voted against pork projects even when they benefited his own district; in 1997 he voted against a defense appropriations bill that included funds for Charleston's harbor. Seeing himself as a "citizen-legislator," he did not run for reelection in 2000, in keeping with a promise to serve only three terms in the House.

Governor of South Carolina

First term

Mark Sandford

He entered the gubernatorial election of 2002; he first defeated Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler in the Republican primary and then defeated the Democratic incumbent, Jim Hodges, in the general election, by a margin of 53% to 47% to become the 115th Governor of South Carolina. In accordance with South Carolina law, Sanford was elected separately from the state's Republican lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer.

In 2003, just after becoming governor, Sanford joined the Air Force Reserve and attended two week’s training in Alabama with his unit, the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. While in training, Sanford did not transfer power to Bauer, saying he would be in regular contact with his office, and would transfer authority in writing only if he were called to active duty.

Sanford sometimes had a contentious relationship with the South Carolina General Assembly, even though it has been dominated by his party for his entire tenure. The Republican-led state House of Representatives overrode 105 of Sanford's 106 budget vetoes on May 26, 2004. The following day, Sanford brought live pigs into the House chamber as a visual protest against "pork projects".

Sanford rejected the Assembly's entire budget on June 13, 2006. Had this veto stood, the state government would have shut down on July 1. The governor explained his veto as being the only way to get the cuts he desired, and that using the line item veto would have been inadequate as well as impossible. However, in a special session the following day, both houses dismissed Sanford's call for reform by overriding his veto – effectively restoring their original budget (which indeed contained many reforms Sanford had previously called for).

Sanford professes to be a firm supporter of limited government, and many pundits have described his views as being libertarian in nature. Most recently, he has embarked on an ambitious plan to reform methods of funding the state's public education system. This would include measures such as school vouchers – aimed at introducing more competition into the school system as a means of fostering improvement. This would also allow more choice for parents who wish for their children to be educated in a religious or independent setting easier access at doing so. The plan, known as "Put Parents In Charge," would provide around $2,500 per child to parents who chose to withdraw their children from the state's public school system and instead send them to independent schools. Sanford has framed this plan as a necessary market-based reform.

Sanford has also sought to reform the state's public college system. Sanford has criticized these schools as focusing too much on separately creating research institutions and not on educating the young adults of South Carolina. Sanford has suggested that they combine some programs as a means of curbing tuition increases. The schools did not respond positively to this suggestion, however, causing Sanford to remark that "if any institution ultimately feels uncomfortable with our push toward coordination, they can exit the system and go private."

Sanford has also indicated a desire to increase the powers of the governor. Under the South Carolina Constitution, the governor is somewhat weaker than many of his counterparts. For instance, many of his appointment powers are shared with the General Assembly.

Sanford's first term included other controversies. He was criticized for missing a budget debate and was harshly criticized in a July 2003 article in The Greenville News for delays in signing a piece of domestic violence legislation. A Time Magazine article in November 2005, critical of Sanford, said that some "fear his thrift has brought the state's economy to a standstill."

According to Survey USA, Sanford's approval ratings ranged from 47% to 55% during 2006.

Reelection and Second Term


His campaign for reelection in 2006 began by Sanford winning the June 13th Republican Primary over Oscar Lovelace, a family physician from Prosperity, with 65% of the vote to Lovelace's 35%. His Democratic competitor in the November elections was state senator Tommy Moore, whom Sanford beat by 55%-45%.

On election day, Sanford was not allowed to vote in his home precinct because he did not have his voter registration card. The governor was obliged to go to a voter registration office to get a new registration card. "I hope everybody else out there is as determined to vote as I was today," he said. Sanford's driver's license had a Columbia address, but Sanford was trying to vote at his home precinct in Sullivan's Island. According to WAGT in Augusta, Georgia (whose service area includes part of South Carolina) Sanford declared that it would be his last campaign.

Political Actions

In dissent with the Republican Party of South Carolina, Sanford, an Episcopalian, opposes the faith-based license plates his state offers, marketed largely to the state's conservative evangelical citizens. After allowing the law to pass without his signature, he wrote, "It is my personal view that the largest proclamation of one's faith ought to be in how one lives his life."

After the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which Governor Sanford strongly opposed and publicly criticized before and after its passage by Congress and presidential signing, Sanford initially indicated he might not accept all of the funds allotted by the spending law to South Carolina. He was criticized by many Democrats and some moderate Republicans both in his state and outside who noted South Carolina's 9.5% unemployment rate (one of the highest in the country) and complained that Sanford wasn't doing enough to improve economic conditions in his state, which they felt could be alleviated by the stimulus money. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor of California, suggested that if Sanford or other governors rejected their portion of stimulus funds, he would be happy to take them instead.

On March 11, 2009, Sanford became the first United States governor to formally reject a portion of the federal stimulus money earmarked by Congress for the state of South Carolina. Sanford compromised to accept the federal money on condition that the state legislature provide matching funds to pay down the South Carolina state debt. On April 3, 2009, Sanford signed paperwork enabling South Carolina to receive the bailout money; however, he maintained that this signing was simply a bureaucratic maneuver to avoid the federal funds allocated to SC being redistributed to other states.


From June 18 until June 24, 2009, the whereabouts of Governor Sanford were unknown to the public, including to his wife and State Law Enforcement Division, which provides security for him, garnering nationwide news coverage. His state and personal phones were turned off and he did not respond to phone or text messages. That prompted some to believe that he was missing and raised questions about who was acting as governor of South Carolina. His wife initially stated that she was not concerned and that he needed time away from their children to write something. Sanford has apparently made similar disappearances in the past, although this was the longest. After media speculation grew, Sanford's office on June 22 stated that he told them where he was going before he left and that he would be "difficult to reach." Later that day, Sanford's spokesman, Joel Sawyer, told the press that Sanford was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Some South Carolina politicians voiced concerns about the governor's behavior. Lieutenant Governor André Bauer announced that he could not "take lightly that his staff has not had communication with him for more than four days, and that no one, including his own family, knows his whereabouts." The Senate Minority Leader, Democrat John Land, also questioned the fact that Sanford was absent over the Father's Day weekend, arguing that "it's one thing for the boys to go off by themselves, but on Father's Day to leave your family behind? That's erratic."

On June 23, Sawyer reported that Sanford had contacted his staff that morning—after apparently being out of touch with them for five days—and expressed surprise at all of the attention to his absence. Sawyer announced that the governor had decided to return to work the next day.

 Extramarital Affair

On June 24, Sanford arrived at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, at 5:43 am on Delta Flight 110 from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was met at the airport by only one reporter, The State's Gina Smith, who had received a tip that the governor was in Argentina and, on a "hunch", went to the Atlanta Airport to meet a flight arriving from Argentina.  He gave her a brief sit-down interview, wherein he claimed that he was alone for the entire trip, and did not give any other details than that he drove the coastline. Sanford said that he had considered hiking the Appalachian trail, but at the last minute decided to do something "exotic". When asked why his staff said he was hiking, Sanford replied, "I don't know." He later said "in fairness to his staff," he had told them he might do such hiking. Sanford said he cut his trip short after his chief of staff, Scott English, told him his trip was gaining a lot of media attention and he needed to come back. These events prompted Republican state senator Jake Knotts to comment, "Lies. Lies. Lies. That's all we get from his staff. That's all we get from his people. That's all we get from him." Several hours after arriving back in the US, Sanford held a press conference, where he admitted that he had been unfaithful to his wife. He told reporters that he had developed a relationship with an Argentinian woman that he had met "a little over eight years ago, very innocently," and that the relationship had turned romantic about a year before. Sanford's wife had become aware of his infidelities around five months beforehand, and the two had sought marriage counseling. She said that she had requested a trial separation about two weeks before his disappearance.

On June 25, La Nación, a Buenos Aires newspaper, identified the Argentinian woman as Maria Belen Chapur, a 43-year-old divorced mother of two who lives in the upscale district of Palermo and works as a commodity broker for the international agricultural firm, Bunge y Born. The State published details of e-mails between Sanford and a woman only identified as "Maria".

Sanford resigned as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association, and he was swiftly succeeded by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Sanford has not commented about the possibility of resigning his position as governor.

Reimbursement for his private use of public funds

After his affair was revealed in June 2009 and after a reporter used the Freedom of Information Act to seek records of what public funds were used to pay for Sanford's trip to Argentina, Sanford said he would reimburse taxpayers for expenses he had incurred one year earlier with his mistress in Argentina. He said, "I made a mistake while I was there in meeting with the woman who I was unfaithful to my wife with. That has raised some very legitimate concerns and questions, and as such I am going to reimburse the state for the full cost of the Argentina leg of this trip.”

Mark Sandford and Mistress

Mark Sanford, Lover Spend Weekend In Florida To Rekindle Romance

Excerpt from an article on by JIM DAVENPORT | 05/12/10

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Wednesday he spent last weekend in Florida with his Argentine lover, hoping to rekindle the affair that wrecked his marriage and his political future and brought a formal rebuke from legislators for embarrassing the state.

At a news conference on an unrelated issue, Sanford conceded he owes the public the assurance that he's safe and in communication with his office but said the media is obsessed with his personal life.

Sanford did not mention Maria Belen Chapur of Argentina by name when asked about a weekend trip out of state about which his staff has refused to provide details. But the governor, now divorced, left no room for doubt.

"As a matter of record, everybody in this room knows exactly who I was with over the weekend," Sanford said. "That is no mystery to anybody given what I said last summer. And, you know, the purpose was obviously to see if something could be restarted on that front given the rather enormous geographic gulf between us. And time will tell. I don't know if it will or won't."

Questions arose after the website Gawker posted comments from tipsters who reported seeing Sanford in the Florida Keys this past weekend with a tall, attractive brunette they assumed was Chapur. Sanford said he didn't stay at the hotel mentioned in that posting or a subsequent published report.

He said Wednesday that he owed it to the public to say he was being protected by Florida law enforcement on the trip and that he was in touch with his office while away. His safety and accessibility became issues when he disappeared for five days last summer after he slipped his security detail and left no work on where he had gone. That raised questions about who was in charge of the state.

"I think, that, you know, those two things I owe you all. But this obsession with one's personal life at some point has got to end," Sanford said. "I think the people of South Carolina have so far along moved past this that it is ridiculous that some – and I say – an isolated some in the media have been preoccupied and focused on it."

The "obsession with one's personal life needs to come to an end. And we've got to move from tabloid journalism into real journalism," Sanford said.

He slammed one of the state largest newspapers for reporting based on Gawker's report that he was staying at celebrity resort in the Florida Keys.

Sanford walked out of the news conference before providing details about the trip or saying if it was the first time he had seen Chapur since he vanished from the state in June and returned to say he had been in Argentina visiting her. He told his staff he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. He appeared before cameras to tearfully admit the yearlong affair with the woman he described days later as his soul mate in an interview with The Associated Press.

Since then, Sanford has been censured by the House. Wife Jenny Sanford divorced him in March after penning a tell-all book describing their relationship. She's now dating a Georgia businessman.

And Mark Sanford agreed to pay the largest ethics fines in state history for, among other things, his use of state planes for personal and political purposes.

The term-limited Republican, once considered a possible 2012 presidential contender, leaves office in January after completing his second term.

Meanwhile, Jenny Sanford has been a popular talk show guest whose political capital is rising. On Thursday she'll be "Dr. Phil" recalling the affair. And on Friday, she'll be campaigning for state Rep. Nikki Haley in her GOP primary bid to replace Sanford and become the state's first woman chief executive.

Role in 2008 presidential election

In 2006, before the midterm elections, some commentators discussed the possibility of Sanford running for president. He said that he would not run, and claimed that his re-election bid would be his last election, win or lose. After Super Tuesday in 2008, Governor Sanford received some mention as a potential running mate for the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, John McCain.

Sanford publicly aligned himself with McCain in a March 15, 2008, piece in the Wall Street Journal. Likening the presidential race to a football game at halftime, Sanford noted that he "sat out the first half, not endorsing a candidate...But I'm now stepping onto the field and going to work to help John McCain. It's important that conservatives do the same."

On January 11, 2008, shortly before the South Carolina presidential primaries (R Jan 19, D Jan 26), Governor Sanford published a guest column in the Columbia newspaper The State. In the article, "Obama's Symbolism Here", Sanford wrote, "I won't be voting for Barack Obama for president," but noted the "historical burden" borne by South Carolinians on the topic of race. He advised voters in South Carolina to take note of the symbolism of Obama's early success, with the knowledge that South Carolina was a segregated state less than fifty years earlier, and discouraged voting either for or against Obama on the basis of his race.

In a January 18, 2008 interview with Wolf Blitzer, Sanford discussed his Obama article. Wolf Blitzer asked, "Give us your mind-set. Why did you think it was so important to write this piece right now at this critical moment?" Governor Sanford responded, "Well, it plays into a larger conversation that we're having as a family of South Carolinians on, in fact, the [constitutional] structure of our government." Also, Wolf Blitzer showed Sanford clips of recent comments made by John McCain and Mike Huckabee about the Confederate flag and asked the Governor, "All right, two different positions, obviously. Who's right in this?" Sanford responded, "Well, it depends who you talk to." Sanford elaborated that "if you were to talk to the vast majority of South Carolinians, they would say that we do not need to be debating where the Confederate flag is or is not."

Sanford attracted derision in the liberal blogosphere and among pundits and analysts on the left for a gaffe during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer on July 13, 2008, when he had difficulty answering a question about differences between Senator McCain and incumbent President George W. Bush on economic policy. "I'm drawing a blank, and I hate when I do that, especially on television," joked Sanford.

Possible 2012 Candidacy

As early as January 2008, there has been anticipation that Mark Sanford would run for President in 2012, and online support groups have sprung up on virtual social networks like Facebook in support of a Sanford ticket.

Further boosting Sanford's profile in advance of a potential candidacy, which the governor has neither ruled out nor expressly hinted at, he was elected as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association in November 2008 and was cited by Michael S. Steele, the Chairman of the Republican Party as one of four "rising stars" in the GOP (alongside Governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Sarah Palin of Alaska) in February 2009. Sanford also received early support for a presidential run from the Republican Liberty Caucus

On February 22, 2009, Governor Sanford declined to rule out a possible presidential bid in 2012, though he professed to have no current plans to run for national office.

Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza says that revelations of an extramarital affair in June 2009 ended Sanford's chances of being a serious candidate in 2012.

COLUMBIA, S.C. After going AWOL for seven days, Gov. Mark Sanford admitted Wednesday that he'd secretly flown to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he'd been having an affair. He apologized to his wife and four sons and said he will resign as head of the Republican Governors Association.

"I've let down a lot of people, that's the bottom line," the 49-year-old governor said at a news conference where he choked up as he ruminated with remarkable frankness on God's law, moral absolutes and following one's heart. His family did not attend.

The woman, who lives in Argentina, has been a "dear, dear friend" for about eight years but, Sanford said, the relationship didn't become romantic until a little over a year ago. He's seen her three times since then, and his wife found out about it five months ago.

He told reporters he spent "the last five days of my life crying in Argentina" and the affair is now over. Sanford, a rumored 2012 presidential candidate, refused to say whether he'll leave office.

News about the Economy

"What I did was wrong. Period," he said.

Questions about Sanford's whereabouts arose early this week. For two days after reporters started asking questions, his office had said he had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trial.

Cornered at the Atlanta airport by a reporter, Sanford revealed Wednesday morning that he'd gone to Argentina for a seven-day trip.

When news first broke about his mysterious disappearance, first lady Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press she did not know where her husband had gone for the Father's Day weekend.

Sanford's announcement came a day after another prominent Republican, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, apologized to his GOP Senate colleagues after revealing last week that he had an affair with a campaign staffer and was resigning from the GOP leadership.

Sanford, first elected governor in 2002, has more than a year remaining in his second term and is barred by state law from running again.

He emerged Wednesday afternoon at a news conference and it took more than a few minutes into his address before he got to the crux of what had happened. He spoke of his love of hiking and how he used to guide trips along the Appalachian Trail _ and only then tearfully apologized to his wife, his staff and his friends.

"I hurt a lot of different folks," he said, occasionally choking up throughout the news conference that lasted about 20 minutes.

A former three-term congressman, Sanford most recently snared headlines for his unsuccessful fight to turn aside federal stimulus cash for his state's schools. His vocal battle against the Obama administration _ and libertarian, small-government leanings _ won praise from conservative pundits. Ultimately, a state court order required him to take the money.

Sanford was born May 28, 1960, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the eldest of four siblings. He earned a bachelor's degree in business from Furman University in 1983 and a master's of business administration from the University of Virginia in 1988.

After working for a couple of years in the financial world in New York, he returned to South Carolina and said he was shaped by his summers working on the family plantation. He served in the U.S. House for three terms before honoring a term limits pledge and leaving office in 2001.

In 2002, he defeated incumbent Democrat Jim Hodges by 4 percentage points to become governor and won re-election in 2006, beating Democratic state Sen. Tommy Moore.

As governor, Sanford has had seemingly endless run-ins with the GOP-dominated Legislature, once bringing pigs to the House chamber to protest pork barrel spending. He also put a "spending clock" outside his office to show how quickly a proposed budget would spend state money.


SULLIVANS ISLAND, S.C. — South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford sat in her oceanfront living room Friday, recalling how her husband repeatedly asked permission to visit his lover in the months after she discovered his affair.

"I said absolutely not. It's one thing to forgive adultery; it's another thing to condone it," Jenny Sanford told The Associated Press during a 20-minute interview at the coastal home where she sought refuge with their four sons. They were her first extended comments on the affair.

She said that when her husband, Gov. Mark Sanford, inexplicably disappeared last week, she hoped he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, as his staff told those who inquired about his absence. That he had dared to go to Argentina to see the other woman left her stunned.

"He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her," she said in a strong, steady voice. "I was hoping he was on the Appalachian Trail. But I was not worried about his safety. I was hoping he was doing some real soul searching somewhere and devastated to find out it was Argentina. It's tragic."

The Sanfords had separated about two weeks ago. She said her husband told the family that he wanted some time away to work on writing a book and clear his head. The first lady said, "I had every hope he was not going to see her."

"You would think that a father who didn't have contact with his children, if he wanted those children, he would toe the line a little bit," she said.

Sanford, who is staying at the official residence in Columbia, returned Wednesday to end days of speculation on his whereabouts, publicly confess his cheating and emotionally apologize.

Jenny Sanford, a Georgetown-educated, former Wall Street vice president, did not stand next to her husband Wednesday during his pained public confession.

Sanford said she discovered her husband's affair early this year after coming across a copy of a letter to the mistress in one of his files in the official governor's mansion. He had asked her to find some financial information, she said, not an unusual request considering her heavy involvement in his career.

She would not comment on what was in the letter except to say "enough to figure out an affair was going on."

She felt "shocked and obviously deeply hurt. I didn't think he had it in him," she said. "It's hard to find out your husband is not who you thought he was."

The first lady said she confronted her husband immediately, and he agreed to end the affair. She said she wasn't sure Friday whether he had done so.

"I guess that's what we will have to see. I believe he has," she said. "But he was down there for five days. I saw him yesterday and he is not staying here. We'll just see what kind of spirit of reconciliation he has himself."

The governor declined to discuss details of the letter and how he handled it with his wife.

"This goes into the personal zone," Sanford said Friday. "I'd simply say that Jenny has been absolutely magnanimous and gracious as a wonderful Christian woman in this process."

Jenny Sanford cried at the end of the interview, and said the couple have been to counseling.

"When I found out in January, we both indicated a willingness to continue working on the marriage, but there's not room for three people in a marriage," she said. "I've done everything in my power possibly to keep him from going to see her and to really make sure she was off the table, including asking him to leave."

About an hour after Jenny Sanford talked of her pain and feelings of betrayal, her husband brushed aside any suggestion he might immediately resign, citing the Bible and the story of King David _ who continued to lead after sleeping with another man's wife, Bathsheba, having the husband slain, then marrying the widow.

"What I find interesting is the story of David, and the way in which he fell mightily _ fell in very, very significant ways, but then picked up the pieces and built from there," Sanford told members of his cabinet in a session called so he could apologize to them in person and tell them the business of government must continue.

Meanwhile, questions grew about a trip to Argentina he took last summer. While Sanford has agreed to reimburse the state for part of a more-than $8,000 tab that enabled him to see the mistress, state officials indicated they never intended a South American trip to hold meetings in Argentina. That was only done at the governor's behest, said Kara Borie, a spokeswoman for the state Commerce Department.

Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said he did not immediately know whether Sanford's request for business meetings would have allowed him to have taxpayers cover the entire Argentina visit.

Some Republican leaders have called for Sanford to resign and some lawmakers and watchdog groups are pressing for investigations into whether he improperly used state money.

For Jenny Sanford, the focus is the couple's four sons. During her interview, she wept as she displayed the stellar report cards earned by her eldest two sons at their exclusive private school in Columbia.

On the coffee table was a collection of devotional books, including a book of commentary on the Bible's Book of Job, the story of a man whose faith God tests to the extreme.

"Parenting is the most important job there is and what Mark has done has added a serious weight to that job," she said.

Sanford's Affair Sparks Debate In GOP Over Family Values Emphasis

Gov. Mark Sanford's admission to an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina has sparked a debate within the backchannels of the GOP over how strongly the party should emphasize morality and religion going forward.

For decades, the GOP has used issues like respect for the sanctity of marriage and the notion of family values as a key component of its political platform and a point of divergence between Republicans and Democrats. A series of sex scandals involving high-ranking officials, however, has drastically altered that equation. And now some strategists are questioning whether the party should rethink the way it emphasizes these matters.

"It creates a very interesting tension for Republicans because they understand that there is a very interesting constituency that they have to appeal to, particularly in places like South Carolina, by resorting to that kind of moral values rhetoric," said Mike Maslansky, CEO of Luntz Maslansky, a predominantly conservative communications firm. "I don't say rhetoric as a means of demeaning it. Talking in those terms is a way to appeal to the base. In an election season they find it is a significant advantage to talk in those terms. Maybe for the other three years out of their term they wish that they hadn't."

The GOP, to be certain, will never get to a point where it willfully cedes the moral high ground to Democrats. The social and religious conservatives who comprise a large and vocal portion of the base won't permit such a drift. Nor, for that matter, does it make political sense. The failings of Sanford and others, they argue, were isolated and personal events and not reflective of the party as a whole.

"It is a personal tragedy that he talked about some length," said Frank Donatelli, chairman of GOPAC, a conservative political action committee, and former political director for President Ronald Reagan. "But I don't know that it has implications beyond that."

That said, conservatives have hit a rough patch in the last few years on the family values front, with Sen. John Ensign, Sen. David Vitter, and former Sen. Larry Craig all setting the stage for Sanford's own marital misconduct controversy. And there is a growing belief among strategists that Republicans might -- at least for the time being -- be better served to stress the economic components of their platform rather the social or moral aspects.

"Look, of course, we are the conservative party and we are going to have a conservative message," said Donatelli. "But I do think by talking a little bit more about economic opportunity that we as a party want to offer both at the national and state level, that is what we can do I think to broaden our ranks."

Craig Shirley, a long-time Republican strategist who has been vocal in his criticism of the party, added: "The problem with the Republican Party today is not having principles; the problem is the betrayal of principles. Frankly, I think the whole issue of 'family values' is overstated as a problem in the GOP. The Republican Party has a lot of problems, no doubt, but for every John Ensign or Mark Sanford are ten so-called conservatives undermining the Jeffersonian message of individual rights, individual dignity."

South Carolina Dems call for Sanford investigation  Posted: 02:55 PM ET

(CNN) — South Carolina Democratic Party chairwoman Carol Fowler said Saturday that Republicans in the legislature should form a bipartisan committee to investigate Gov. Mark Sanford

"Mark Sanford deceived us– the only way now for South Carolinians to feel confident they are being told the truth is for the General Assembly to pursue every recourse under the law to get at that truth," Fowler said in a statement.

During the past 10 days South Carolinians have been subjected to the greatest display of irresponsible behavior by an elected official in a hundred years. Mark Sanford abandoned his official duties, deceived the public, and misled his family. He has even admitted to using public funds to support his extramarital affair."

"But in spite of 10 days of full national humiliation, South Carolinians still don't know the whole truth. Is Mark Sanford simply an irresponsible public official or guilty of something criminal?

"Mark Sanford has made a mockery of Republican claims to represent family values and stewardship of tax dollars. Now he's hoping his fellow Republicans will turn their heads rather than do what they are obligated to do – investigate how the governor abused the public trust by using official resources to conduct and cover up an affair.

"Just over a week ago Mark Sanford abandoned his duties and sneaked out of the country. He went to great lengths to cover up his conduct – even using his staff to do so. His fellow Republicans should not now be complicit in covering up Sanford's abuses.

"But Attorney General McMaster, who wants to be governor, has said he will not conduct an investigation, perhaps because he fears retribution from Republicans who still support Sanford. This shows a lack of responsibility to the public.

"SLED has also said that it will not investigate. Chief Reggie Lloyd has shown himself to be independent, professional, and responsible, but he is a member of the Governor's Cabinet. So SLED is probably not the appropriate agency to look at Sanford's irresponsible behavior.

"It becomes obvious that the body with the independence, power, resources, and responsibility to investigate Mark Sanford's aberrant, anomalous behavior is the SC General Assembly.

"For these reasons I call upon the Republican leadership of the General Assembly, Speaker Bobby Harrell and Senate President Pro Tem Glen McConnell, to appoint a special bipartisan House and Senate Committee to conduct a thorough, objective, and complete investigation of the whole sordid affair that Mark Sanford has inflicted on South Carolina and its people.

"Mark Sanford deceived us– the only way now for South Carolinians to feel confident they are being told the truth is for the General Assembly to pursue every recourse under the law to get at that truth," said Fowler.


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