S.C. Mark Sanford, often mentioned as a possible Republican presidential, explained his mysterious six-day absence by acknowledging an affair with an Argentinian woman who he called "a dear, dear friend."
Hours after a reporter for The State spotted him in Atlanta getting off a plane from Argentina, Sanford held one of the most candid political news conferences in memory. He admitted his infidelity.
"The bottom line is I've been unfaithful to my wife," he said, his voice occasionally breaking. "I developed a relationship with a dear, dear friend from Argentina....
"I've let down a lot of people. Let me first of all apologize to my wife, Jenny,...and my boys ... who I've let down in a profound way. This is the first step on what will be a very long process on that front."
Sanford said he met the woman eight years ago and their friendship started on a casual basis but developed into more about a year ago. Asked if his wife knew about the affair, he said they had been "working through this thing for about the last five months."
He said he and the woman realized the affair couldn't last. "I spent the last five days of my life crying in Argentina."