South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is confessing to more liasons, admitting he "crossed lines" with a handful of women. But he claims he never had sex with any of them, saying he only "crossed the ultimate line" with his Argentinian mistress, Maria Belen Chapur.
"This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story. A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day."
During an emotional interview with the Associated Press in his office at the statehouse in Columbia, S.C., Sanford called Chapur his "soul mate." But he said he is trying to reconcile his marriage, and fall in love with his wife all over again.
As far as the other women, Sanford said the encounters happened outside the U.S. while he was married but before he met Chapur, on trips to "blow off steam" with male friends. He admitted that he "let his guard down" with some physical contact but "didn't cross the sex line."
Sanford is also coming clean about his relationship with Chapur. At his news conference last week, Sanford said he saw her three times in the past year. Now he admits there were five clandestine meetings, including two in New York where Sanford said they intended to break up.
Sanford insisted no state money was spent. He said he paid for the trips himself, in cash:
"At that point I was very careful, everything was paid for in cash And you won't find a credit card record."
Sanford went missing two weeks ago, not telling his family or staff where he was going. It turns out he was visiting Chapur in Argentina, and was forced to tell the world what he was up to.