SANFORD SERIAL SINS…. Part of crisis management is not letting a story drag out over several days and weeks. Someone really ought to let Mark Sanford know about this.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Tuesday that he “crossed lines” with a handful of women other than his mistress — but never had sex with them. The governor said he “never crossed the ultimate line” with anyone but Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentine at the center of a scandal that has derailed his once-promising political career.

“This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story,” Sanford said. “A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day.”

During an emotional interview at his Statehouse office with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Sanford said Chapur is his soul mate but he’s trying to fall back in love with his wife.

He said that during the encounters with other women he “let his guard down” with some physical contact but “didn’t cross the sex line.” He wouldn’t go into detail.

The governor added that he was less than honest last week about how many liaisons he’d had with Chapur.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler said this morning, “This latest admission from Mark Sanford is precisely the reason why we’ve pushed the Attorney General and Republican legislative leaders to investigate all of the Governor’s activities related to his extramarital affair. South Carolinians need to know if Governor Sanford’s reckless, irresponsible behavior constituted illegal behavior.”

That, as it turns out, came before we’d learned that Sanford had “crossed lines” with women other than his wife and mistress.

As of this afternoon, South Carolina’s attorney general requested that the State Law Enforcement Division review the governor’s travel records to look for evidence of possible illegalities.

And to think, Sanford probably thought the worst was behind him.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.