Gov. Sanford admits to affair

June 24, 2009 2:05:43 PM PDT
Talk about painful. It was hard not to cringe - if you saw the news conference of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, admitting he had an affair with a woman in Argentina. A woman who's not his wife. As Candy Crowley said on CNN after the news conference, the sound you hear is that of Republican leaders screaming.

I suppose many still find it shocking that a married politician has an affair. Paleeze.

Clearly his marriage was in trouble - he fell in love with someone else; his wife says she asked him to move out two weeks ago.

This stuff happens. Everyday, in every part of America.

The real shock, it seems to me, is that his staff had no idea where he was. I mean, this guy runs a state; the people of South Carolina had a chief executive who was incommunicado for nearly a week.

The debate rages over whether Sanford's personal life - or any public figure's personal life - is anybody's business. Those who say it's not always lean on the "as long as it doesn't affect the public" argument.

But a governor missing for the better part of a week is absolutely-positively-no question the public's business.

His staff insisted he was hiking on the AppalachianTrail, which the last time we looked didn't extend as far south as Argentina, or South Carolina.

Sanford - another one of these no-names mentioned as a "possible candidate" for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2012 - has resigned as head of the Republican Governors Assn. Whether he stays as Governor of South Carolina is another question. We'll have the latest, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, two stories with religious angles. The first: Pres. Obama is going to Rome next month, among other places, to visit the Pope. They will talk about "dignity" issues. And tonight, on the 15th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, who led the Chabad Lubavitch movement in Brooklyn, up to 50,000 are expected to visit his grave. (Is it ironic that the ultra-orthodox, who disdain the high-tech, are keeping Schneerson's memory alive through DVD's and the web? I'm just askin.)

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Board today left interest rates alone - at their lowest level - for their fourth meeting in a row. The Fed said that the "pace of economic contraction is slowing." Good news indeed - but that's a long way from recovery.

We'll also have the latest from Albany, where late this afternoon, Gov. Paterson seems to have found his mojo. He's threatening to withhold paychecks of state Senators who are not working and in session. Finally.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after an ABC News special - a town-hall meeting with Pres. Obama about health care. There's been controversy about this hour, with ABC News taking attacks, unwarranted from this reporter's perch, because we're broadcasting from the White House and offering the President a chance to explain his proposal to overhaul the nation's broken and expensive health care system. It should be a fascinating and candid give-and-take. You can see it, tonight at 10.

BILL RITTER


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