The E-mails That Forced Mark Sanford to Come Clean

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South Carolina governor Mark Sanford's confession yesterday that he was having an affair with a woman in Argentina seemed to come as a relief: He gushed and overshared details of the fling, and we must say, we actually gasped when he opened the floor to questions. The whole thing seemed voluntary, to say the least — and it may have been cathartic, but, it turns out, it was not his idea. Once it was revealed that Sanford had been in South America during his mysterious five-day absence, South Carolina newspaper The State informed his office that they would be publishing illicit correspondence between the governor and a woman named Maria in Argentina. They'd had the e-mails since December, but hadn't been able to verify them until this recent trip.

Ever read over the e-mails you sent during the beginning of a hot and heavy romance? The way you overthought each sentence, tried to make stupid jokes, and went embarrassingly over the top with the way you felt like you were feeling at the time?

These e-mails take that even a step further. We'll leave out Maria's contributions, as it's clear her English isn't quite up to the task of fully expressing the entire body of emotion Sanford, er, inflamed in her. But his missives are entertaining enough. Some highlights:

• "You are glorious and I hope you really understand that. You do not need a therapist to help you figure your place in the world."

• "I do not want to raise expectations, when I say I will send something insignificant I promise I will do as I say! It wont (sic) be worthy of bedside placement ... was just going to find the movie the Holiday as we had spoken of it last Thursday. Its music was pleasant and made me think of you — its mood and the notion of a holiday (wrapped up in our case over two days) certainly fit as well." [Ed: Oh no! The HOLIDAY?]

• "I am most jealous of your salad under the palm tree." [ This was actually in reference to a salad, but it grossed us out anyway.]

• "There are but 50 governors in my country and outside of the top spot, this is as high as you can go in the area I have invested the last 15 years of my life — my getting here came as no small measure because I had that foundation of love and support so critical to getting up in the morning and feeling you could give and risk because you already had a full tank of love in the emotional bank account."

• "You have a level of sophistication that is so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificently gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curves of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of night’s light — but hey, that would be going into the sexual details we spoke of at the steakhouse at dinner — and unlike you I would never do that!"

• "I better stop now least [sic] this really sound like the Thornbirds — wherein I was always upset with Richard Chamberlain for not dropping his ambitions and running into Maggie’s arms."

The last one probably sealed the deal — we know how big the Thornbirds are in Argentina these days.

Exclusive: Read e-mails between Sanford, woman [State]