Interview with Jenny Sanford on "Larry King Live"

Interview with Jenny Sanford on "Larry King Live"

By Larry King Live - February 8, 2010

KING: Jenny Sanford is the first lady of South Carolina. She is divorcing the governor, Mark Sanford, after 20 years of marriage. They have four sons together. He publicly admitted to adultery after telling his staffers he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, when he was, in fact, visiting his lover.

Jenny Sanford is the author of the new memoir, "Staying True." There you see its cover. The book has just been published.

Did you think of putting the title "Getting Even?"

JENNY SANFORD, SOUTH CAROLINA FIRST LADY: I'm not trying to get even, really.

KING: Why did you write it?

J. SANFORD: You know, I -- I feel like I struck a chord with a number of folks around the country who were surprised, maybe, that I didn't crumble. And I'm just hopeful that I can help some other women.

KING: Do you see it, also, as some sort of retribution or -- or some sort of catharsis?

J. SANFORD: Catharsis, yes. Retribution, no. I'm not -- I'm not really interested in getting retribution. I think it's an honest account of what -- what -- the values that I hold dear and the things I turn to in times of crisis or -- or in a busy political life to keep myself very solvent -- solid and grounded in my faith, my values. You know, I -- I look to my faith, I look to my God, I look to my -- my friends and I look to my relationships with my family.

KING: Was it hard to write?

J. SANFORD: It was hard, but it was also, as you said, you know, cleansing. It was cathartic.

KING: Now, you have four children, right?


KING: Three teenagers...


KING: ...and one 11-year-old?


KING: Did you talk to them when you were -- about writing it?

J. SANFORD: I did talk to them about writing the book. They had some mixed blessings, but they basically were all in favor, yes.

KING: Did they read it?

J. SANFORD: They haven't read it yet. But, you know, I'm not so sure -- it's not really a -- a children's book.

KING: I would say.

J. SANFORD: But -- but my -- they -- they've read -- I've read to them parts of it just to make sure they were OK with it. And my hope is, in time, when they're ready each of them at their own will read it. And -- and I hope they'll learn in time. And when they're ready the -- the things that mean -- that mean a lot to me and what got me to this decision.

KING: Isn't it difficult, Jenny -- if I can call you Jenny?

J. SANFORD: Yes, please do.

KING: Isn't it difficult to talk about pain?

J. SANFORD: You know, it's very difficult to talk about pain. It's -- and it's very difficult to talk about things that are very, very personal. You know, I've always considered myself very private. But I didn't make this public. As a matter of fact, if you read the book, you'll see that I spent a good long time trying to keep it very private and from becoming the spectacle, in fact, that it became.

KING: Yes, you did. In fact, you knew about it a lot longer than...

J. SANFORD: Months.

KING: ...we thought you knew about it.

J. SANFORD: Right. Right. And I did everything I could to kind of keep it private and to protect the family. But once it became public, I just figured, you know, there are so many women out there that have connected with me and -- and said that they either admire the fact that I stood up and stood up without losing a sense of who I was.

And so I -- I'm -- you know, I just -- I hope that if I can even help a couple women out there, it will be worthwhile for me.

KING: Let's go back. You first met -- you were a career woman on Wall Street right?

J. SANFORD: Right. Right.

KING: What was the attraction?

J. SANFORD: You know, I had been here in New York for -- you know, from 1984 through 1990. I he met Mark in 1987. He was, to me, a -- you know, kind of a breath of fresh air. I'm a solid Midwestern type of a girl and I found him refreshing. I found him honest. I found him just kind of a -- a breath of fresh air.

KING: He also didn't have much experience in the dating game, did he?

J. SANFORD: No, he really didn't. And I -- and I found that also refreshing. But it -- but it brought with it some different challenges. You know, a couple of things he would say weren't, you know, what the normal suave guy that's been around the block a couple of times would say...

KING: Like?

J. SANFORD: Like -- like right before we were getting married, when he said, you know -- you know, there's -- your priest gives you a menu of different vows. And he says, well, you know, I -- with all due respect, I'd rather not use a vow that uses the world "faithful" in it.

And I said, well, you've got to be kidding me?

But we -- but -- but -- but after that, that was -- you know, we had a very honest, frank conversation. And I...

KING: Why -- why did he want that out?

J. SANFORD: He just said, you know, I this kind of -- I -- I took it as just an honest assessment of, you know, the things he was nervous about. You know, marriage is -- everybody has doubts before they marry, because marriage is a commitment for life if you -- if you take it seriously.

And he just said, I don't know. I don't know if I can stay, you know, with one person for (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: True?

J. SANFORD: You know, for...

KING: Didn't that throw you?

J. SANFORD: Well, it did throw me. But then I said, you know -- we had a -- we had a serious conversation. I said marriage is much more than the word spoken in a vow. Marriage is a commitment to one person. I mean that's what it is. It is a vow of fidelity.

And we felt -- you know, we -- we spoke about it. I said just -- are you saying you don't want to get married, because, to me, marriage is a vow of fidelity.

KING: Yes.

J. SANFORD: And he was no, no, I want to get married. No, I -- you're the one I want to marry. He was fully committed. So -- so I took it, you know, at the end of the conversation, and we -- we revisited the conversation a number of times. I was absolutely certain. And there's no question, I had my own doubts about Mark, but fidelity was the last thing I was worried about.

KING: You had a... J. SANFORD: I was worried about other things.

KING: You had a very successful career, did you not?

J. SANFORD: Exactly.

KING: What were you doing?

J. SANFORD: I worked -- I did -- I worked at Lazard Freres doing, you know, investment banking.

KING: Oh, a major firm.

J. SANFORD: Um-hmm.

KING: What was Mark doing?

J. SANFORD: Well, I -- well, the year I met him, he was a -- an intern at Goldman Sachs. He was getting his business degree at Virginia.

KING: Any interest in politics at that time?

J. SANFORD: No. Now he -- we sat down at a restaurant one night and -- when we were engaged. And this guy was very goal-oriented and he -- which, I thought, also was refreshing. He had literally a couple of pages worth of goals.

And, you know, there was maybe one line in there about, you know, maybe run for -- or be a senator or something. But otherwise, it was not really something he discussed. So it was not...

KING: Were you very poli...

J. SANFORD: was not -- it was not really -- no, I wasn't very political. Not at all.

KING: We'll be right back with Jenny Sanford.

The book is "Staying True," a guaranteed best-seller.

We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with Jenny Sanford.

The book is "Staying True."

You were a Catholic. Your husband was not.

J. SANFORD: That's right.

KING: Was that hard?

J. SANFORD: Yes, it is hard. You know, I -- I think -- you know, marriage is a meshing of two lives. And there are bound to be a number of things that are -- that are different among the two. And in our case, religion was different.

But I considered him a very good Christian. And, you know, the -- you know, many -- many times you'll see a Jewish person marry somebody else of a very different faith.

KING: Um-hmm.

J. SANFORD: The Christian tradi -- tradition, in general. You know, Catholicism is different from Episcopalianism or Protestantism. But -- but -- but our values were the same. And I find that, you know, marriages that are -- that are centered around core sets of values have a better chance of -- of -- of, you know, weathering the ups and downs.

And at some point in our marriage, he lost sight of his values. He -- you know, he stayed true to a set of political goals and the -- and he -- and he did. And I -- and I -- and I continue to praise I mean and respect him for that. But -- but -- but maybe the strength it took to do so caused him to lose sight of his -- his personal values.

KING: Do you go to the Catholic Church?

J. SANFORD: No, we don't go to the Catholic Church right now. We -- right now, we're going to kind of a non-denominational, a Christian community church.

KING: How long have you been separated now?

J. SANFORD: I asked him to leave in June, before he went to Argentina. So we've basically been separated since then.

KING: How close to divorce?

J. SANFORD: Maybe at end of this month, the next couple of weeks.

KING: It's hard for a Catholic, isn't it?

J. SANFORD: It is hard for a Catholic, yes.

KING: It's against the religion, isn't it?

J. SANFORD: It is against the religion, yes.

KING: Did you have to get special dispensation?

Are you asking for special dispensation?

J. SANFORD: We'll see. I don't know. First things first.

KING: It's hard to annul when you have four kids, right?

J. SANFORD: Right. Right. KING: All right, you're in Con -- he's in Congress, you're in Washington -- he's in Washington for six years, right?

J. SANFORD: Six years. Yes, I was a bigger fan of term limits, I think, than he was, for different reasons, right?

KING: Half the time you spent in South Carolina.

J. SANFORD: I -- I stayed in South Carolina.

KING: Was that hard?

J. SANFORD: It is hard. And I think that -- you know, I'll say a couple of things. I -- I think that there -- not enough people in this country really understand and appreciate the effort that goes into, you know, the political life, if you will. And when you're a Congressman that has a young family, you know, you have to be in DC. You have to be home campaigning every weekend. You know, you -- you -- you can't necessarily afford to keep -- you know, to -- to share -- you know, shuttle your family back and forth.

So if your family moves to DC, you're home campaigning on the weekends in your district, because you're up every two years, right?

KING: Yes.

J. SANFORD: If you don't -- if your family doesn't move to DC, you know, it's easy to lead fairly separate lives. He starts the life of the immediate stroking that comes with being a Congressman and the immediate -- you know, everybody wants -- you know, the business. Everybody wants a piece of your time. You know, you're scheduled in five minute increments.

You know, it's a -- it's a tough life. It can be somewhat glamorous but it can also be very straining, especially if you stick to your guns and you -- and you don't just go there to go along to get along. You know, if you -- if you go and try to stick to your principles, you're constantly trying to -- you know, you're being -- you're being kind of pawed at to -- to either compromise or move or do all these things.

And then you've got a wife at home with two, three, four little babies. You know, you're definitely -- you've got -- you have some challenges in it terms of making sure you stay on the same plane.

KING: Looking back, though, in retrospect, there was some hypocrisy here in other areas. Your husband was one of the leaders against Bill Clinton.

J. SANFORD: Um-hmm.

KING: That was a little hypocritical, wasn't it?

J. SANFORD: You know, it was. And I -- you know, I just -- it -- it really saddens me, because I believed in him and a number of people believed in him. I think, at the time, I think he believed in what he was saying. But...


J. SANFORD: But he...


J. SANFORD: Yes. But he lost -- I -- I mean, in other words, I still believe he was a good person. I still believe he believed in the things he -- he professed. Somewhere along the lines, he got -- he got off -- off track. Now, he can get back on track, but -- but -- but too late for the marriage.

KING: Do you think this was the only woman?

J. SANFORD: You know, he -- he admitted to having, you know, dalliances or whatever -- however he called it -- with some other women. This is the only one he says he had a -- a real affair with.

KING: All right. How did you find out?

J. SANFORD: I found a letter that he had.

KING: From?

J. SANFORD: That Mark had written to his -- his lover.

KING: Didn't he send it?

J. SANFORD: He -- for some reason, he had a he copy of it, for goodness sakes. I don't know why that was. And I was looking for some financial records at his request. So I wasn't doing anything I shouldn't have been doing.

KING: All right. Now you're -- this was how long ago?

J. SANFORD: This was last January, so a year ago.

KING: You opened this letter.

It's written to this woman?

J. SANFORD: Right.

KING: What -- what hits you?

J. SANFORD: Oh, it's awful, awful.

KING: What did you do?

J. SANFORD: You know, I -- I literally was in shock. I mean I -- my stomach was -- felt gut punched. I was shaking. I -- the thought went through my mind -- I mean I was literally stunned.

What do you do?

I don't know. Because I really had believed in this man.

KING: But you can't...

J. SANFORD: I had seen signs that he -- that something wasn't right in the last year. But -- he just wasn't himself. He was frustrated. He was, you know, anxious. He was losing weight. There were just some things that weren't right about him.

But -- but I had never suspected anything like this.

KING: Are you angry?

J. SANFORD: You know, no. In a...


J. SANFORD: a funny sense, I he went through a couple of stages where I was angry, but that wasn't my initial response. No. And came in shortly thereafter, like about 10 minutes after I found the letter. And...

KING: What did you say?

J. SANFORD: I just -- I was still kind of stunned. You know, I didn't -- I didn't -- I didn't have a fit. I looked at him quietly and said, you know, can you tell me about this?

What -- what is this?

And, you know, I felt, in some respects, like we had lost something that we'd never get back. And...

KING: What did he say?

KING: ...from my gut was to -- was to forgive -- my gut, once he -- once he said oh, yes, it's nothing, it's nothing and, you know, we -- we decided we needed to talk about it. The children came up the stairs, so we -- we had to continue the discussion.

But my -- my initial gut was to -- was to forgive, if he could -- if he could make an honest effort toward reconciliation.

KING: That's really Christian.

J. SANFORD: But I really still -- I still felt, even though I -- I was ready to forgive, I did believe that you can make your marriage stronger and you can recover from something like that. I still felt like there was something that was lost that you'd never get back.

KING: More of the incredible story of Jenny Sanford in the book "Staying True".

We'll be right back.


KING: You write -- were you angry at -- we're back with Jenny Sanford.

Were you angry at the mistress in Argentina?

In the book, you say, "I referred to her plainly as his whore."

J. SANFORD: And I...

KING: In other words, he defended her?

He defended her to you, right?

J. SANFORD: Well, I made a comment the night after I found out about the affair and I -- I -- and in that -- in that discussion I used that world and maybe I shouldn't have. But it -- it -- it caused a reaction which led me to believe he had real feelings for her. And...

KING: What did he do?

He got mad?

J. SANFORD: Yes. He said, oh she is not. And so I -- I didn't use the term again. But it -- it did -- it did open my eyes a little bit to the fact that there were some real feelings there.

KING: Did you ever think, Jenny, if we're talking about Catholic guilt sometimes...

J. SANFORD: Um-hmm.

KING: Was it something I did?

J. SANFORD: You know, the thought goes through your mind and you start soul-searching and, you know, how could I have known; you know, what could I have done differently?

But at the end of the day, no. I -- I really -- I have not dwelled on that. In some respects, I really -- when I look back over our lives, I see the -- the stress and strain that came with the political world we were in. And I see a number of different factors that maybe, you know, coincided in his life at one time to just make him -- to make him maybe lose sight of who he really was. And that was saddening to me. You know, it was -- it was -- it -- it saddened me. It didn't make me angry.

KING: Now, even after he admits the affair -- this is one of the shocking points in this incredible book -- he asks your permission to go visit with her again. You write that at one point, he requests to see his lover. They were frantic about seeing her.

J. SANFORD: Um-hmm. Near the end before I...

KING: He needed permission?

J. SANFORD: Near the end, before he actually went to Argentina, he kept asking for permission. He had to see her. He said, something in his heart and he had to figure it out. You know, I had never seen him like this ever in my life.

And he was talking about love in different ways, about just -- he just was lost, frankly. And it -- you know, there was nothing I could do to wake him up.

KING: Did you accept the fact, hey, he's in love with this woman?

J. SANFORD: Well, what was funny is he didn't just -- I mean I would have accepted it if that's what -- if he said I'm in love with this woman and this is what it is. But he -- it was like he didn't know. He -- he had to see her to find out.

KING: But he wanted you to stay?

J. SANFORD: But he wanted me to stay. He didn't want to give up what he had. And that, to me, was -- was painful.

KING: That's called chutzpah, gall, right?

J. SANFORD: Um-hmm. But -- but he said it in a way that was -- was -- he was almost oblivious to the pain he was causing.

KING: Did you believe he was hiking the Appalachian Trail?

J. SANFORD: I had my doubts. But I was hopeful he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, because I had kicked...

KING: Did you worry...

J. SANFORD: ...I had kicked...

KING: ...that he was missing?

J. SANFORD: Well, I had kicked him out of the house. I had asked him to leave, because...

KING: That was not known at the time.

J. SANFORD: ...because he was begging -- he was begging to see his mistress and it was ripping me up. So I said, you know, you need to leave. And I -- so I was hoping that by starving him of contact with the family for 30 days, he would wake up to what he might lose.

So I said, please have no contact with the boys or I. And I asked him to tell the boys that he was going to be gone and that he would have no contact with us.

He didn't understand it. But he was gone -- for the first week, I knew from people in his office he was in Colombia, but we weren't speaking. And then the second week is when he disappeared. And he told everybody in his office he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

So the only information I had was from people in his office. I had my doubts, but I was hoping that's where he was.

KING: And then he admits it.

Let's watch that now famous clip from June 24th, where he publicly admits having an affair.



GOV. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The bottom line is this. I -- I've been unfaithful to my wife. I developed a relationship with a -- what started as a dear, dear friend from Argentina. It began very innocently, as I suspect many of these things do, in just a casual e-mail back and forth and advice on one's life there and advice here. But here, recently, over this last year, it developed into something much more than that.


KING: Did you watch that?

J. SANFORD: Um-hmm.

KING: What went through you?

J. SANFORD: That's not something you ever want to watch on national television.

KING: Well, you know, a lot of wives in those situations appear with their husbands...

J. SANFORD: Right.

KING: Usually a little -- they stand back a little and they sort of look sad.

Did you think of going to that press conference?

J. SANFORD: No. It never crossed my mind.

KING: Did he ask you to go?


KING: How do you think he handled himself there?

J. SANFORD: From a personal standpoint, as a wife, not very well. And from a political standpoint, not very well.

KING: A shut out on both sides?

J. SANFORD: Um-hmm.

KING: We'll be right back with Jenny Sanford.

The book is "Staying True".

Don't go away.


KING: Back with Jenny Sanford. As soon as that press conference was over, you write in the book, he asked you for a critique?

SANFORD: How did I do?

KING: What did you say?

SANFORD: I was stunned. I said, what do you mean how did you do? You talked more about her and cried for her and said little of me and the boys. Frankly, I'm not even sure what else I said after that. I just wanted to get off the phone.

KING: How about when he told you that she was his soul mate?

SANFORD: I think he told the world that. But that one didn't feel very good either. One of my boys told me later on he said she was a soul mate. I think that's kind of cheesy. I can't think of a better term.

KING: What do your boys think now?

SANFORD: You know, they're obviously disappointed, I think. But more than anything they want our family back. They want the family back together. They want mom and dad together. Mark and I weren't the type that fought all the time. We never fought. We were very compatible.

So I think, to some extent, they're a little bit bewildered at the turn of events and how the world changed. Having said that, kids are very resilient. They're settled in their new school. They're back at home. We're settling into a new, normal routine. I feel like they're going to do great.

KING: Let's take a call for Jenny Sanford. Avantori (ph), Florida, hello.

CALLER: I have a he question for Mrs. Sanford. After this experience, do you have less trust in men, and do you think that marriage will be in the future? Or you just don't think of that right now, it's too soon?

SANFORD: You know, I don't know that I do have less trust in men. I think, you know, everybody in this world is prone to making mistakes or to sinning or to falling off of their grounding or, you know, falling away from the values or the things that they hold dear.

I still have faith that Mark's a good person and will get it back. It will be too late for the marriage. I think I could trust another man. I think I could get married again. We'll see. It depends on, you know -- it depends on who the person is and, you know, what kind of trust develops. I'm totally open.

KING: Where does he stand with the woman now? Do you know? SANFORD: Larry, I got to the point where I don't want to know. I don't even ask. I'm just moving on. I want to stay happy and positive and raise the kids to the best of my ability.

KING: Any chance, after all of this, to save the marriage? Was there any counseling?

SANFORD: We did have counseling at a number of different stages along the way. You know, I think nobody takes a 20-year marriage and decides in a snap minute to throw it away. I think I came to the decision very prayerfully and very carefully over a number of months. And it was a process, if you will. I got to the stage where I decided there's no going back. I'm really ready to move on.

KING: How did you tell him you wanted a divorce?

SANFORD: I told him before he went to Argentina, if he went to see her, I would divorce him. I was pretty clear a number of times that those would be the ramifications. It was just not allowed. And he went anyway. And I still gave him another shot when he came back. So it was pretty easy to say, you know what, this is it. I'm ready to move on.

KING: Why did you stay a day?

SANFORD: Because we have four children, and I believe in marriage. I believe that if god blesses us with children --

KING: It could never be same, could it?

SANFORD: It could never be the same, but I do believe -- I do believe people can rebuild themselves. I believe people can repent and have a humble spirit and really make -- I believe that with work, you can make it better, yeah.

KING: He was listed at times as a presidential possibility in the sweepstakes. Now with his career ruined, where does he go from here? He's going to finish his term, apparently. There's no impeachment, is there? Where does that stand?

SANFORD: No the impeachment's passed. It sounds like he will finish his term, which means he will serve out through the rest of the year. I don't know what his future holds. He has a lot of soul- searching to do. I hope -- like I said, he's a good person. I hope he gets back to his grounding. I hope he figures some things out, if for no other reason than the sake of our kids. I think boys need to see their dad make amends and make things right.

KING: Did you have a good financial settlement?

SANFORD: We're still working on that and I'm pretty much keeping that all private.

KING: That's your own business. Why didn't he resign? Some say you helped him stay in office. I want a quote from South Carolina's newspaper "The State," quote, "Jenny stepped to his defense by publicly saying she was willing to forgive him and privately assuring key lawmakers the Sanfords could get past their problems while the governor finished his term." You helped him stay in office. Why?

SANFORD: You know, I don't know that that's necessarily a correct assessment. I put out a statement that I was going to forgive him, but I don't know that I privately spoke to -- encouraged any lawmakers. I was pretty much dealing with my own personal situation with the kids. I believe I spoke to maybe two close friends who are associated with the legislature. But that's not in any way, shape or form urging the legislators.

I stayed out of it. And I know I made a couple of very bold comments to the notion that, you know, his career was really not my concern. My family was, and the character of my children. I stand by that.

KING: More after this.


SANFORD: We're back with Jenny Sanford. I asked if she liked being first lady. You said no.

SANFORD: You're going to get me in trouble back in South Carolina. First Lady is an interesting job. It's a job that, you know, you don't get paid. You can't be fired, although I guess I'm about to fire myself by divorcing my husband. It comes -- there's some parts of it that are wonderfully enriching and gratifying, because there are so many people write you notes. They come see you. They support you in anything you do.

But there are a lot of expectations. I'm not a southerner. There's a -- you oversee the governor's mansion. There's a lot that comes with the house. You support your husband in whatever he does. We have a tight budget. You have to manage the budget.

KING: Do they feel they own you?

SANFORD: There are a lot of people that feel they voted for your husband and their event is very important, and can you please be at their event. When you're juggling four kids, it can be a lot.

KING: It can get to you after a while.

SANFORD: It's a real job. The flip-side is there's the opportunity to do great things. You show up at a charity event, or you stop by the local children's hospital or, you know, help out at a homeless shelter. And they're so happy you're there. Or you can talk about things that are near and dear to your heart, and actually make a difference. That part of it is gratifying. But it's a juggle, especially at my stage in life with young children.

KING: You got to see a lot of racy e-mails he sent, right?

SANFORD: I saw the same ones in the paper that everybody saw.

KING: What did that do to you?

SANFORD: It ripped me up, if for no other reason than, you know, you don't want your children reading that either.

KING: Did they?

SANFORD: They did, yes. I don't really believe in -- if the world out there knows this kind of stuff and kids in their class are reading it, I'm not so sure I should keep them from reading it. I believe in letting them be aware what's out there so they can deal with it. I remember seeing two of them reading some of those on the web. I said, all right, read them and then turn it off and go outside and play.

KING: The story is you're supposed to not knock your spouse to your children in a divorce. That's the general advice, right?

SANFORD: Right. Mark and I are actually getting along beautifully right now. I don't knock him in front of the kids at all. But at that time when they were reading the e-mails, he wasn't around. I don't think you can keep that from him.

KING: What does he think of the book?

SANFORD: He hasn't read it yet, so I don't know.

KING: One would think he would have been the first one to read it.

SANFORD: Perhaps he knows the story.

KING: Good line. Your parents are living?

SANFORD: They are.

KING: What do they think of this?

SANFORD: They're heart-broken. Nobody wants this for their little girl or their big girl. I mean, it's just -- they were believers in Mark. The sad part of all this is that Mark had a serious falling. Family, friends, people all across our state and he was gaining a following in our nation. He is a stalwart and has been a stalwart -- he's taken a strong stance against run away government spending, debts and deficits. He's been that way for 15 years. It's rare to see a politician stick to his guns in that manner. And because of that, he really did attract a following. And people were disenheartened by this.

KING: He was extraordinarily frugal, though. You disclose, he made you return a diamond necklace. He didn't feel it was worth it.

SANFORD: Larry, he was in Congress, so he ordered it, I guess, from a friend through the phone. When he came home -- he must have envisioned that he bought me the Hope Diamond based on what he spent on it. When he saw it on my neck and said, I hope you kept the box and he took it back. But I wasn't offended by it. KING: No?

SANFORD: Listen, you have to remember, when he was in DC, he called and he faxed clues to the basement and the kids went on a little scavenger hunt around the house. It was very sweet. Because I know how ingrained in him this kind of stuff is -- we had been married a number of years -- I didn't take it personally. He's frugal to the core.

KING: Wasn't that hard to live with?

SANFORD: It is hard to live with. You learn in a marriage -- you learn -- you learn to fight the battles you really care about. As long as I can peacefully coexist with him without him getting into every financial decision I made, we got around it. It worked out fine.

KING: Did he complain about a credit card you might use?

SANFORD: He would complain about overall -- I learned to get him to focus on the bigger picture. The overall household spending, instead of every little bill, and it worked.

KING: What do you think he's going to do?

SANFORD: I don't know. I don't know. It depends on what he does to get himself back in touch with his values. I believe he's focused in the right way, in terms of finding a path going forward. I don't know what that path is. Nothing would surprise me. I wouldn't be surprised if two years from now he's driving a tractor. And I wouldn't be surprised if he was traipsing the country with Pork and Barrel, those two pigs. He really wakes up passionate every day about government spending. Nothing would surprise me.

KING: Would it rock you if he married the Argentinean?

SANFORD: No, it probably wouldn't, because I come to peace with myself.

KING: Would you want your boys to know her?

SANFORD: I can't answer that, because I don't know her. I don't hold her in very high regard, given what's happened here. So I'm not so sure that I'd be pleased with it, but I would certainly accept it.

KING: We're back with Jenny Sanford. I don't think there's anyone like her. The book is "Staying True." We'll be right back.


KING: Jenny Sanford is the guest. The book is "Staying True." Portland, Oregon, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Thank you for taking my call. I've been listening to Mrs. Sanford today. And she's been saying in a number of different ways that her husband has lost his he way, that he's lost his values, that he must be confused. I'm just wondering, as hard as it may be to accept, are you just saying these things to make yourself feel better?

In other words, that he just must be crazy? I guess my question is, is it possible for a man or woman to fall out of love with their spouse, and fall in love with someone else, and maybe that's the case here? If it is the case, should a person stay in a marriage, even if they've been married 20 years and have four children?

SANFORD: No. I actually agree with you that it is -- I think it is possible for a man -- I think it's certainly possible that he just fell completely out of love with me and fell in love with somebody else. But the honorable thing to do would be to say, I'm not in love with you, and I'm going to marry this other woman. That's not what he said.

So he's asking for permission, and then -- but I want to stay married to you. It's not really -- that's -- it's the sign of somebody that -- I'm saying that he's lost because I actually believe that. It's really on an emotional level. I've also been asked does he has the capacity to continue to govern, and I believe he does.

In other words, I don't think he's lost his way at all in the things much more straightforward to him. I used the term in the book that I watched him become empty inside. And that's something that maybe happens to politicians over time. You spend so much time speaking in sound bites and being ripped up by your political enemies, and ripped up by the press, and then seeking the stroking that comes -- the adulation that comes with certain members of the press, or aspects of the press.

That whole process of compartmentalizing your emotions can actually make you feel empty or confused. So I'm saying that honestly and earnestly. I'm not, in any way, saying it in a derogatory way.



KING: back with jenny Sanford, our remaining moments. You must feel for Elizabeth Edwards.

SANFORD: I do. I do. Uh-huh.

KING: Fellow Carolinian.

SANFORD: Yeah. You know, nobody deserves to be put in this kind of a situation and she certainly has had a couple of knocks. And my heart goes out to her.

KING: Would you call her?

SANFORD: I would. I haven't. I mean, yeah, I'd be happy to. I think I'm going to send her a book.

KING: You ought to. What does your future hold? You're 47. SANFORD: Forty seven, uh-huh. I still have, you know, kids at home and this last year has been quite tumultuous for them. My first priority is to make sure they're settled. Once I finish rolling this book out, I'm going to spend the rest of the year -- we have a senior who is graduating from high school and looking to go to college.

KING: Where is he going to go?

SANFORD: I don't know yet. He wants to go to Virginia. He got accepted to Georgetown.

KING: Your school.

SANFORD: My school. I'm pulling for Georgetown. But I don't know.

KING: Would you like to see any of them go into politics?

SANFORD: I would rather not, but they know politics. I'm always trying to teach them a little bit of capitalism on the side. You know, I'm trying to balance their world a little bit. We'll see. You know, you always want your kids to do what's right for them. If they're meant to be in politics, I wouldn't stop them.

KING: You came from the world of finance. Would you go back to it?

SANFORD: I would consider it. I like living in South Carolina. I'm going to think very carefully about what I do next. I might slowly get into something. I might do a couple little things. As the boys move on to college, I might get into something more full time. We'll see.

KING: You are supporting someone for governor?

SANFORD: I am. I have endorsed a woman, an Indian-American woman that's really sharp in South Carolina. Her name is Mickey Hailey (ph). She's bright, articulate, and she holds the same kind of fiscal conservative values as Mark Sanford, and she wants to reform the good old boy system that's held Mark back. In South Carolina, the governor is not very strong. A lot of things need to be reformed. She's picked up that same platform.

KING: Is it a crowded group?

SANFORD: Yes, there's a handful of folks.

KING: Is mark going to endorse -- maybe they wouldn't want Mark's endorsement.

SANFORD: I'm not so sure. Yes, I think he's probably going to stay out of it.

KING: You wouldn't get into politics?

SANFORD: I really have no interest. I think I've done my time. KING: Let's take another quick call. Long view, Texas. Hello.

CALLER: hello and good evening, Mrs. Sanford. I'm sorry for the pain you faced at the hands of the governor's hypocrisy and waste of taxpayer dollars. I've never heard your opinion clearly. Do you think he should resign? I inferred you don't think he should. When he plead for this and the mistress, was that a plea for plural marriage? I'm kind of unclear.

SANFORD: I respect your question, but I've been asked in the past whether I think he should resign, particularly when he came back from Argentina. I said, I'm staying out of that. My focus is my children and my family. I'm going to leave it at that.

KING: He did shame -- in shaming the marriage, he shamed the office, too, didn't he?

SANFORD: He did shame the office. But, you know, I'm not the one to judge whether he should resign or be impeached. I'm focused where my priorities are, which is where they should be.

KING: How do you like going on and talking about a book?

SANFORD: You know, it's different.

KING: How do you like talking about your life?

SANFORD: It's very different. It's not something I would have chosen. But I didn't open the can of worms and introduce it to the country. My husband did. If there's a way I can be helpful to others by being hopeful and honest, inspire others women to get up and move on, or to gracefully deal with the challenges in their life by sticking with faith, friendships and relationships and values that matter, then it will have been a success.

KING: Have you heard from a lot of people?

SANFORD: I have. I have. I've been encouraged by a number of people who have either followed my story or even people who have already read the book since it's been out.

KING: Do you have brothers and sisters.

SANFORD: Two brothers and two sisters.

KING: How do they treat you? How do they deal with all this?

SANFORD: You know, the wonderful thing about family and friends is you can't survive without them. My sisters and my parents have been right there with me. My brothers have been supportive. Everybody's been supportive. You need that in any trial in your life. You need to keep good relationships with your family. You need to rely on your friendship, really close girlfriends, and need your faith. You need really steadfast faith. You need to cultivate those over the years.

KING: They must have bitter feelings about Mark.

SANFORD: Some are more bitter than others. We're all working on being as happy as we can be, so the kids can be enveloped in a sense of love going forward.

KING: Give you a lot of credit.

SANFORD: Thank you.

KING: Great meeting you.

SANFORD: Nice to meet you too.

KING: The guest, Jenny Sanford, still the first lady --

SANFORD: At least a few more weeks.

KING: -- of the state of south Carolina. The book is "Staying True." I guess when you're divorced --

SANFORD: I think you're technically no longer first lady. Although, there are a few functions I'll still do.

KING: Good. We're headed to DC. First Lady Michelle Obama is here tomorrow. Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden. How are we doing so far? Time now for Anderson Cooper in Port-Au-Prince with "AC 360." Anderson?

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