From the Daily Kos: From The (Columbia, SC) State:
Gov. Mark Sanford arrived in the Hartsville-Jackson International Airport Wednesday morning, having wrapped up a seven-day visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, he said. Sanford said he had not been hiking along the Appalachian Trail, as his staff said in a Tuesday statement to the media. Sanford's whereabouts had been unknown since Thursday, and the mystery surrounding his absence fueled speculation about where he had been and who's in charge in his absence. His emergence Wednesday ended the mystery. Sanford, in an exclusive interview with The State Media Company, said he decided at the last minute to go to the South American country to recharge after a difficult legislative session in which he battled with lawmakers over how to spend federal stimulus money. Sanford said he had considered hiking on the Appalachian Trail, an activity he said he has enjoyed since he was a high school student. "But I said 'no' I wanted to do something exotic," Sanford said "... It's a great city."
This episode is unbecoming of a public leader.
OK, I get needing some R&R. I even understand wanting to go to Buenos Aires: I hear it's a great city and has a ton of American ex-pats living there. But the governor of a state cannot just go incommunicado, have a staff sending out BS reports of whereabouts, and not let anyone know about it. Moreover, governors are potential targets for hostile entities abroad. Traveling without security in such an instance is an unnecessary risk.
More from The State:
Sanford said he left Thursday night from the Columbia Metropolitan airport. Media reports said a SLED SUV the governor drove that night was spotted in the airport's parking lot. Sanford said he decided not to return via the Columbia airport to avoid the media. The State Media Company was the only media who greeted Sanford Wednesday morning. "I don't know how this thing got blown out of proportion," Sanford said. Sanford said he has taken adventure trips for years to unwind.
Emphasis added. Sanford's bemusement reminds me of when Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) explained his inaction on the Mark Foley scandal by saying he took the matter to his "supervisor," in that case, Denny Hastert. Jon Stewart mockingly remarked, "Tom Reynolds: United States Congressman, or Assistant Manager at Applebees?"
Update from the State:
“The bottom line is this: I have been unfaithful to my wife,” the two-term governor said before a mass of press in the State House outside the governor’s office. “Let me apologize to my wife Jenny and my four boys ... for letting them down.”
Asked directly if he and first lady Jenny Sanford are separated, Sanford said: “I don't know how you want to define that. I’m here and she's there. I guess in a formal sense we are not.”
Sanford acknowledged he misled his staff earlier this week when he lead them to believe he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Sanford said he would resign as chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association — a platform he has used over the past few months to broadcast his opposition to President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package and fueling speculation that Sanford was considering a 2012 run for president.