South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford carried on a lively e-mail exchange with his lover in Buenos Aires, praising her "gentle kisses," her tan lines and the "curve of your hips," according to copies of the e-mails given to McClatchy's The State newspaper.
The newspaper posted excerpts on its Web site, after removing the woman's full name and other personal details, including her street address, e-mail address and children's names. It said it was given the e-mails in December, but had been unable to confirm their authenticity until Wednesday.
In the e-mails, Sanford recounted his schedule, including a meeting with Sen. John McCain, then the Republican nominee for president. In that e-mail, Sanford told his lover, who The State identified only as "Maria," that the visit had sparked discussion of Sanford as a possible vice presidential candidate.
He also hinted at the emotional struggle his sexual relationship with the woman was causing him.
"This is ground I have never certainly never covered before - so if you have pearls of wisdom on how we figure all this out please let me know," Sanford wrote. "In the meantime please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul."
The relationship apparently also caused Maria conflicts.
"As I told you I shouldn't have done this trip but I would have felt worst if I wouldn't have come," she wrote. "He is a very nice guy, great heart ... but unfortunately I am not in love with him ... You are my love."
Sanford's office did not dispute the authenticity of the e-mails on Wednesday.
McClatchy special correspondent Angeles Mase visited the 14-story apartment building in Buenos Aires Wednesday where the woman lives, according to the emails, which included her address. The woman at the address answered to the name in the emails and, at first, agreed to speak to a visitor, but she declined after the visitor identified herself as a reporter.
The doorman at the building, shown a photograph of Sanford, said he did not recognize him. According to the doorman, the woman has two sons, one a teenager of driving age and the other younger. The emails refer to the woman's two sons.
From Gov. Sanford, Date: Thursday, July 10, 2008, 12:24 a.m.
"One, tomorrow leave at 5 a.m. for New York and meetings. Will think about you on its streets and wish I was going to be there later in the month when you are there. Tomorrow night back to Philadelphia for the start of the National Governor's Conference through the weekend. Back to Columbia for Tuesday and then on Wednesday, as I think I had told you, taking the family to China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Thailand and then back through Hong Kong on world wind tour. Few days home then to Bahamas for 5 days on a friend’s boat for the last break of the summer. The following weekend have been asked to spend it out in Aspen, Colorado with McCain - which has kicked up the whole VP talk all over again in the press back home . . .
"Two, mutual feelings . . . You have a particular grace and calm that I adore. You have a level of sophistication that so fitting with your beauty. I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificent gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curve of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of the night’s light - but hey, that would be going into sexual details ...
"Three and finally, while all the things above are all too true - at the same time we are in a hopelessly - or as you put it impossible - or how about combine and simply say hopelessly impossible situation of love. How in the world this lightening strike snuck up on us I am still not quite sure. As I have said to you before I certainly had a special feeling about you from the first time we met, but these feelings were contained and I genuinely enjoyed our special friendship and the comparing of all too many personal notes ...
"Lastly I also suspect I feel a little vulnerable because this is ground I have never certainly never covered before - so if you have pearls of wisdom on how we figure all this out please let me know... In the meantime please sleep soundly knowing that despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you, your voice, your body, the touch of your lips, the touch of your finger tips and an even deeper connection to your soul.”
From Maria, Wednesday, July 9, 2008 8:14 p.m.
“As I told you I shouldn't have done this trip but I would have felt worst if I wouldn't have come because it was too over the date, he is a very nice guy, great heart ... but unfortunately I am not in love with him ... You are my love ... something hard to believe even for myself as it's also a kind of impossible love, not only because of distance but situation. Sometimes you don't choose things, they just happen... I can't redirect my feelings and I am very happy with mine towards you.”
From Gov. Sanford, Tuesday, July 8, 1:42 a.m.
“Got back an hour ago to civilization and am now in Columbia after what was for me a glorious break from reality down at the farm. No phones ringing and tangible evidence of a day's labors. Though I have started every day by 6 this morning woke at 4:30, I guess since my body knew it was the last day, and I went out and ran the excavator with lights until the sun came up. To me, and I suspect no one else on earth, there is something wonderful about listening to country music playing in the cab, air conditioner running, the hum of a huge diesel engine in the back ground, the tranquillity that comes with being in a virtual wilderness of trees and marsh, the day breaking and vibrant pink coming alive in the morning clouds - and getting to build something with each scoop of dirt.”
The State said it would publish further excerpts from the e-mails in its print editions Thursday. Follow The State's coverage.