South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford’s book “Staying True” went on sale Friday. One of the first people to read an advanced copy was reporter Gina Smith of The State newspaper. She and her colleagues broke the story of Gov. Mark Sanford’s affair with a woman in Argentina. On ABC’s 20/20 Friday night, Ms. Sanford was the focal point of Barbara Walter’s feature story. After her time with network reporters like Walters, the first lady granted the first non-national interview to Smith. Smith’s story is in The State, Sunday’s edition.
Smith says in “Staying True” Ms. Sanford, who filed for divorce from her husband, does a detailed job of chronicling her marriage with the governor over its 20-year span and reveals that Governor Sanford was restlessly driven to achieve as much as he could at a younger age. Smith says Jenny Sanford talks about how her husband, as they were getting married, requested that the faithfulness vow be left out of their wedding ceremony, and how the governor once went to New York City to break off the affair, but then wanted to see the woman again.
Smith was the reporter who surprised Sanford at the Atlanta airport as he returned from Argentina and got the first interview with him following his disappearance for better part of a week. Smith says her office had received, from another party, some emails sent some months prior to the governor’s infamous disappearance. But Smith says reporters in her newsroom were uncertain about the validity of the emails. And she says she didn’t think it was the newspaper’s job to play moral police.
(Gina Smith on Jenny and her book MP3 12:03)
Gina Smith on Jenny and her book
Governor Sanford attended last week’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., a trip that included speaking with the U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan about the state’s vying for additional education stimulus fuinds.