Sanford speaks

SANFORD SPEAKS…. In a strange and meandering press conference, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) explained this afternoon that he’d been “unfaithful” to his wife, after developing a “relationship” with a woman in Argentina. Sanford said he would step down as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, but did not respond when a reporter asked if he would step down as governor.

Sanford began by repeatedly talking about his love of “adventure trips.” (Is that what they’re calling adultery these days?) He then said his admission is “gonna hurt.”

The governor proceeded to apologize, in order, to:

* his wife

* his four boys

* his staff

* his constituents

* his friends

* his in-laws

* people of faith in South Carolina and nationwide

“I’ve let down a lot of people; that’s the bottom line,” he said, adding, “I would ask their forgiveness…. All I can say is that I apologize.”

Sanford then requested a “zone of privacy” for his family, who apparently is not living in the same city as the governor for the time being.

As the governor began to walk away from the podium, a reporter asked, “Are you going to resign?” Sanford continued to walk away. When the same reporter asked a Sanford aide the same question, he said, “Thank you” and ended the press conference.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.