UPDATE: Since posting this item, the "other woman" question has come to the fore. According to source to TPM:
….a second car was identified at the Columbia airport, next to the SUV Sanford is believed to have used. Two additional sources in South Carolina politics said the same thing.
Other sources also note that the Sanfords have been having problems in their marriage and have "been in marital counseling for several weeks now."
First, he wasn't missing at all. Then he was taking some time away from the kids to do some writing, then he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, then his staff was in touch with him and then they weren't, and now he was supposedly in Argentina alone the whole time, driving on a coastline which is neither long nor scenic, in the coldest time of the year down there. And that wasn't revealed until a reporter caught him at the airport getting off a plane from Argentina.
All this from a pro-family value governor (and 2012 presidential candidate) who spends father's day away from his kids.
When the timeline is put together (and it has been), the whole thing strains credulity.
He's holding a news conference today at 2:00 pm. Trainwreck coming? I hope he's prepared to answer these questions:
* Where did Sanford stay during his trip? And with whom? (The governor refused to discuss his accommodations in Argentina earlier today.)
* Did Sanford lie to his staff, or did he encourage his staff to lie to us?
* Why didn't the governor tell his wife and children where he was going?
* Why didn't Sanford check in with the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires?
* The governor's vehicle parked at a South Carolina airport had a "baseball cap, running shoes, sunscreen, a pair of shorts, a canvas bag and a sleeping bag" inside. Did Sanford intend to come home and pretend that he actually was on the Appalachian Trail during his absence?
* Why did Sanford change his travel arrangements for his return trip home?
* Who was in charge of the South Carolina executive branch for the last six days?
* Given the number of telephones and computers in Buenos Aires, why didn't Sanford call and/or email anyone on his staff or in his family?
Before he takes the podium, let's have a quick rundown of 2012 GOP presidential contenders and their implosions:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: Showed her seriousness as a high-minded policymaker and world leader by picking a fight with a late-night comedian. The refusal of the stimulus funds. Then the continuing feud with D.C Republicans. And the Bristol-Levi breakup mess. She's not doing much to shed her trailer park housemom image.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: Shyed away from the public spotlight after a dreadful televised response to Obama’s address to Congress. In that address, Jindal mocked some of Obama's stimulus spending, openly wondering what "volcano monitoring" was and why we needed to spend money on it — less than a week later, a deadly volcano erupted in Alaska as if to answer Jindal's stupid query.
Arizona Sen. John Ensign: After having dipped his toes in the Iowa waters, he confessed last week to having an affair.
SC Gov. Mark Sanford: Well, you know….
Newt Gingrich: Got in trouble — and didn’t do himself any favors among Latino voters — when he called Sonia Sotomayor a "racist".
Texas Gov. Rick Perry: Became laughing stock when he suggested that Texas seceed from Union
So much for the conservative hopefuls. As for the moderate Republicans:
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman: Has gone to work for … the Obama administration. Not an "implosion" per se, but it pretty much kills any 2012 hopes.
I think Mitt Romney must be pretty happy these days. He's playing it smart by staying out of the spotlight. A new Pew Research poll finds Romney "has seen his favorability ratings improve and now enjoys a positive balance of opinion among the general public: 40% rate him favorably, 28% unfavorably."