Sanford Press Conference Leaves Unanswered Questions

June 24, 2009 12:28 p.m.

Red-faced luv guv Mark Sanford has followed up on his amazing press conference by issuing a formal statement asking for forgiveness.

It’s true that the philandering chief exec deserves some credit for “standing up and being a man,” as Sen. Jake Knotts — heretofore his loudest critic on the issue — put it just now on CNN. But the forgiveness Sanford is looking for might come more quickly if there weren’t still so many unanswered questions about what really happened.Here are just a few of the more obvious ones:

1) What prompted Sanford to come clean? If he hadn’t been caught at the airport by that reporter for the State, would he have stuck to the Appalachian story?

2) Speaking of which, did he voluntarily tell the State‘s reporter that he had been in Argentina? Or did she find out by looking at his luggage tag, or some other way? And what about that report that the paper had the goods on the guv already, and used this trip to nail him?

3) Why did it take a six-day trip to break off the affair? Not to sound cold, but couldn’t a difficult phone call — or at least a one day trip for a face-to-face conversation — have done the job?

4) If the trip really was just to break off the affair, and Sanford’s wife had found out about it five months ago, as the governor suggested, why couldn’t he tell her where he’d gone?

5) It looks like Sanford has in the past been to Argentina on the taxpayers’ dime. Did he see his girlfriend on any of those trips?

The press conference gave the immediate impression of a cathartic full disclosure. But upon a bit of reflection, it seems like something far less.

Late Update : Another obvious question we missed (h/t reader JJ): Sanford said he “misled” his staff about his whereabouts. But he never said explicitly that he lied to them. Did he? And if so, how did an aide come to be at the Atlanta airport this morning to meet the governor when he got off the plane?

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