Governor Sanford’s South American Mystery Tour

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s lost weekend mystery tour may not have been the best idea, politically speaking: The Fallout from Sanford’s South American Adventure.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s South American getaway may be every chief executive’s dream — ditching security, escaping the bubble and wandering through a foreign country like any regular tourist. President Obama, who complains regularly about the bubble, may be secretly admiring Sanford’s escapade.

But for Sanford, the summer adventure to Argentina — no, he was not on the Appalachian Trail as his aides incorrectly told reporters — is now a major personal embarrassment and there is no doubt far more to this story than anyone has heard so far. For a Republican Party down on its luck, Sanford’s draws more unwelcome publicity to a party that needs but can’t seem to get any good news.

The enterprising State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., cracked the case of Sanford’s whereabouts by staking out the Atlanta airport, where one of the paper’s reporters found the absent governor upon his return to the United States. After days of misinformation, the real story of his whereabouts may be out, though there will be numerous questions he’ll now have to answer.

“I wanted to do something exotic,” he said in explaining how he, supposedly, at the last minute, decided to head to South America to recharge after a grueling legislative session in which he lost a major battle with lawmakers, who forced him to accept money from Obama’s economic stimulus package that he wanted used to pay down debt.

Sanford told the State newspaper he’s done this before, taking trips to Greece and Turkey, with friends or solo, as a way to clear his head and chill out. So, it was merely an exotic getaway. How nice. His office has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday afternoon. Whether the full story emerges then remains to be seen.

Put aside what Sanford’s wife and family knew — his wife claimed she did not know where he was but was not worried about him — as that is a between husband and wife. Whatever his wife knew, it was a serious mistake in judgment for the leader of the state to simply drop out of sight for nearly a week.

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