Sanford's Official E-Mails Reveal Man of Few Words

COLUMBIA, South Carolina -- Office e-mails from South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford released Wednesday show a man of few words, a stark contrast to the lengthy, intensely personal messages he sent to his Argentine mistress.

More than 3,300 pages of e-mail during the past 14 months were released to The Associated Press after an open records request, but they contained little about his relationship with his Argentine mistress, Maria Belen Chapur, whom the married governor has called his "soul mate."

The Republican governor's office, however, wouldn't hand over his personal messages from his state or any other computer.

E-mails from Sanford, 49, to Chapur published last month by The State newspaper revealed the governor wrote in depth and in detail, sometimes erotically, about his feelings for her and their trysts. The e-mails were published the same day Sanford tearfully confessed to the affair at a news conference following his six-day unexplained disappearance from the state, when he was in Argentina with Chapur.

While he rambled in the notes to Chapur, most of the communication to his staff was brief, at best.

For instance, state Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor in March asked whether a water and sewer project serving a handful of families and a top health threat for regulators should be approved. Sanford's reply: "Let's not approve."

He scolded a staffer who prepared a daily rundown of news reports. "I need the same format every time. Synopsis first. Then articles. Who wrote article too," Sanford wrote in December.

In contrast, one of his personal e-mails to Chapur went: "I could digress and say that you have the ability to give magnificently gentle kisses, or that I love your tan lines or that I love the curves of your hips, the erotic beauty of you holding yourself ..."

The e-mails also indicate Sanford could stay in touch while out of the country. In July 2008, while on a trip to Nepal with his family, he asked a staffer to check with a hotel because one of his four sons had left his "blankie bear" behind.

However, when he disappeared to see Chapur last month, records showed his staff scrambled to get in touch with him and he couldn't immediately be reached.

The governor's private schedule over the past seven years also was released. The calendar was a mixed bag of personal and professional details. Sometimes the memo-like rundown told the governor exactly what to wear (very old clothes for a mud run and khakis and a button down to tour storm damage), while other times the schedules were nearly blank, saying: "Personal Time."

The itineraries reminded the governor of his four sons' birthdays and his wedding anniversary to his wife of 20 years. But dates where he rendezvoused with his mistress were noticeably scant of details.

E-mail released last week showed when Sanford missed a return flight from Argentina to South Carolina in June 2008, and Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor was worried about the governor.

"Need contact number for him ASAP," Taylor wrote Sanford's assistant June 27.

There's no record of a response to Taylor, but the next day, Ford Graham, the Commerce staffer who accompanied Sanford to Buenos Aires, wrote to Sanford: "I forgot to mention that they really were concerned at first. Apparently they had an informal meeting to discuss what they could do/ how they should respond to a missed flight. In the end they decided that you would work things out."