COLUMBIA, S.C. — Just after South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford admitted to a yearlong extramarital affair, his state's largest newspaper posted online romantic, suggestive e-mails that it says were exchanged between the chief executive and his Argentinian lover.
The State of Columbia redacted the full name of the woman, identifying her only as "Maria," but their contents clearly show they were more than friends.
The newspaper says it has had the messages since December, which would be about the time Sanford says his wife found out about the tryst. In a message to The Associated Press, managing editor Steve Brook declined to immediately elaborate on why it chose not to publish the e-mails earlier.
In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," State reporter John O'Connor said the newspaper was sent the messages from the governor's personal e-mail account by an anonymous person.
"We didn't know that they were true, basically, until this week, and events that happened this week, things the governor said today, finding him at an airport in Atlanta coming back from Buenos Aires, authenticated the e-mails," O'Connor said.
The State said that the governor's office did not dispute the authenticity of the e-mails. Contacted by the AP, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer declined to discuss them.
_ From Sanford. Tuesday, July 8. 1:42 a.m.
"Got back an hour ago to civilization and am now in Columbia after what was for me a glorious break from reality down at the farm. No phones ringing and tangible evidence of a day's labors. Though I have started every day by 6 this morning woke at 4:30, I guess since my body knew it was the last day, and I went out and ran the excavator with lights until the sun came up. To me, and I suspect no one else on earth, there is something wonderful about listening to country music playing in the cab, air conditioner running, the hum of a huge diesel engine in the back ground, the tranquillity that comes with being in a virtual wilderness of trees and marsh, the day breaking and vibrant pink coming alive in the morning clouds - and getting to build something with each scoop of dirt."
_ From Maria. Wednesday, July 9. 8:14 p.m.
"As I told you I shouldn't have done this trip but I would have felt worst if I wouldn't have come because it was too over the date, he is a very nice guy, great heart ... but unfortunately I am not in love with him ... You are my love ... something hard to believe even for myself as it's also a kind of impossible love, not only because of distance but situation. Sometimes you don't choose things, they just happen... I can't redirect my feelings and I am very happy with mine towards you."
_ From Gov. Sanford. Date: Thursday, July 10. 12:24 a.m
"One, tomorrow leave at 5 a.m. for New York and meetings. Will think about you on its streets and wish I was going to be there later in the month when you are there. Tomorrow night back to Philadelphia for the start of the National Governor's Conference through the weekend. Back to Columbia for Tuesday and then on Wednesday, as I think I had told you, taking the family to China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Thailand and then back through Hong Kong on world wind tour. Few days home then to Bahamas for 5 days on a friend's boat for the last break of the summer. The following weekend have been asked to spend it out in Aspen, Colorado with McCain - which has kicked up the whole VP talk all over again in the press back home ...
Two, mutual feelings .... You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night's light - but hey, that would be going into sexual details ...
Three and finally, while all the things above are all too true - at the same time we are in a hopelessly - or as you put it impossible - or how about combine and simply say hopelessly impossible situation of love. How in the world this lightening strike snuck up on us I am still not quite sure. As I have said to you before I certainly had a special feeling about you from the first time we met, but these feelings were contained and I genuinely enjoyed our special friendship and the comparing of all too many personal notes ...
Lastly I also suspect I feel a little vulnerable because this is ground I have never certainly never covered before - so if you have pearls of wisdom on how we figure all this out please let me know... In the meantime please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul."
Information from: The State of Columbia, http://www.thestate.com