- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2010

CHARLESTON, S.C. | In a new memoir, South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford writes that Gov. Mark Sanford sought her advice about his romance and how to deal with the media after she discovered his extramarital relationship with an Argentine woman.

Mrs. Sanford, who managed political campaigns for her husband during their 20-year marriage, writes in “Staying True” that the governor used her as a sounding board, wondering aloud whether he should follow his heart to Argentina and whether he would live a life of regret if he didn’t.

“Clearly those are thoughts I wish he had kept to himself,” Mrs. Sanford writes in the book to be released on Friday. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the 214-page book, published by Ballantine Books, on Tuesday.

Mr. Sanford, once considered a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate, disappeared for five days last summer.

He returned to reveal at a tearful State House news conference he was not hiking the Appalachian Trail, as he told his staff, but in Argentina seeing his mistress, Maria Belen Chapur.

The revelations he made then, and during a subsequent interview with the AP, derailed his political career and ultimately unraveled his marriage.

In the book, Mrs. Sanford, a Georgetown-educated, former Wall Street vice president, traces the story of the Sanfords from the time the couple met in the 1980s to the trying events of the last year. The book includes eight pages of photographs of the Sanfords’ wedding and family and of Mr. Sanford’s political career, which included three terms in Congress and two as governor.

Mrs. Sanford discovered the affair in January 2009 after coming across a letter her husband had written to his mistress.

She writes in her book she was “gut-punched all over again” when she found out the governor had dalliances with other women, some of which she learned about from his interview with the AP when he said he had “crossed lines” with a handful of other women.

The book also gives a sense of the rumor mill that exploded in South Carolina in the wake of the governor’s admissions. Mrs. Sanford writes that, before the AP interview, the governor called her to say “he had more explaining to do” because another woman had suggested to a media outlet she had an affair with him.

She writes her husband told her at the time the relationship was “nothing much” and nothing she needed to know about earlier.

Mrs. Sanford wrote her husband had admitted only one affair until that point and now “ever businesslike, he wanted to know what I thought he should reveal in the interview.” She does not say what advice, if any, she gave the governor.

“Here he was again asking for my advice instead of first considering how the news might make me feel,” she wrote.

It’s not clear from the book the identity of that woman. The AP never reported on an extramarital relationship between the governor and any woman other than Ms. Chapur.

Mr. Sanford’s office had no comment on Tuesday.

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