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The State Newspaper

The State Newspaper

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South Carolina Gov.

Mark Sanford says he was in Buenos Aires -- not hiking on the Appalachian Trail -- during four days when he dropped out of sight, The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C., �reports.�He will hold a news conference at 2 p.m ET.Sanford told the newspaper in an exclusive interview that he went to Argentina to recharge after a difficult legislative session in which he battled lawmakers over accepting federal stimulus funds.

"It was a long session, and I needed a break," he told the paper.His whereabouts touched off a media frenzy after even his wife said she didn't know where he was.

His staff told reporters that he had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trail, but that was followed by reports that his cellphone had been used near Atlanta.The Republican governor said�he doesn't know why his staff said he was hiking but noted in fairness that he had said he "might" hit the Appalachian Trail.In fact, he said, he had considered it.

"But I said 'no' I wanted to do something exotic," Sanford told The State.

"It's a great city."He said he cut his trip short to Argentina by a day to return after his chief of staff explained that his mysterious absence had stirred considerable media attention."Sanford said he was alone on the trip," the newspaper reports.

"He declined to give any additional details about what he did other than to say he drove along the coastline." Update at 10:29 a.m.

ET:� South Carolina state�Sen.

Jake Knotts, a Republican, tells MSNBC that the�ordeal could have been avoided "if a little bit of truth had been implemented into this story.""All we have had is lies, lies, lies and coverups," he says.Knotts, a frequent Sanford critic,�says the governor is entitled to take a break if he needs it, but "I have a problem with that when the state of South Carolina is put on autopilot by the governor.""It is all strange, bizarre behavior just we have had continuously out of this entire administration," Knotts tells MSNBC.Update at 10:57 a.m.

ET: Sanford plans to hold a news conference at 2 p.m.

ET.(Photo of a��June 4, 2009, news conference by Mary Ann Chastain, AP)
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