Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

A Rambling Apology from a Roving Governor

Say this for Mark Sanford — when the time comes to apologize, he puts his heart into it. After vanishing from his state for six days, the South Carolina governor reappeared on June 24 and confessed that he had not been away hiking the Appalachian Trail, as his staff originally claimed, but instead visiting an Argentine lover with whom he had been conducting an affair for more than a year. In a meandering, 20-minute press conference broadcast live on national cable networks, the married father of four reminisced about boyhood hiking expeditions and college trips overseas before getting to his point — "I've been unfaithful to my wife" — and tearfully asking for forgiveness. The months since have not been kind to Sanford. Embarrassing e-mails with his paramour surfaced, his wife moved out, and his approval ratings tanked. His estranged wife Jenny has managed to fare somewhat better. As the New York Times recently detailed, she has applied to trademark her name to sell home goods, is writing a memoir and will appear in December on a Barbara Walters TV special. Some even envision her as her husband's replacement in the governor's mansion. Meanwhile, it appears the governor's operatic apology didn't impress state officials: he's been slapped with 37 ethics charges, and lawmakers are considering impeachment.