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UPDATE:  Sanford is now saying that he has had an extramarital affair.

“I’ve been unfaithful to my wife,” Sanford says.  He says that he cheated with “a dear, dear friend from Argentina.”

Reuters is reporting that Republican Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina took a secret and private trip to Argentina to “drive along its coastline.”

Not even his wife knew where he was but some thought he was hiking the Appalachian Trail since last Thursday.

Sanford, you might remember, gained national attention when he refused his state’s part of the economic stimulus money; he is also a major Republican consideration for 2012.

Missing U.S. governor was on private Argentina trip | U.S. | Reuters .