It turns out Mark Sanford's full confession and apology today wasn't as heartfelt as it seemed: The South Carolina governor had just been informed The State newspaper would publish his mistress emails, its reporter tells us.
As the newspaper disclosed on CNN tonight, it has since December had emails between Sanford and his Argentine mistress, it's just been trying to authenticate them. Then this morning the paper busted Sanford returning on an airplane from South America when he was supposed to be on the Appalachian Trial.
The paper then informed Sanford it would finally be publishing the emails, exposing his adultery, according to The State writer John O'Connor.
"They refused to meet with us to discuss them prior to the press conference," O'Connor tells us. "He cut off conversation at the airport when our reporter asked with whom he was in Argentina."
That Sanford's admission was forced by the imminent publication of romantic emails would help explain the extraordinary scope of his confession; Sanford's on-camera blabbering was a meltdown for the ages. It also speaks to motivation.
Sanford's apparent desire to repair his marriage remains admirable. And it was already clear, at the time of the governor's press conference, that he was under intense media scrutiny. But voters will look less generously on his confession knowing just how coldly the press had him nailed.
(Thanks to commenter and sometime liveblogger MisterHippity for raising this issue in the comments of a prior post.)