"I spent five days crying in Argentina."

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Please ignore the sensational "Latina Lover" graphic from Talking Points Memo and watch this press conference with South Carolina governor Mark Sanford. Remember how he went missing for a few days to "go hiking"? And somehow ended up in Buenos Aires visiting a woman who is not his wife?

Anyway, what struck me the most about this press conference is how open and vulnerable Sanford is, how he treated this conference as a confessional more than anything else. I felt uncomfortable for him the more he talked, and yet I also felt strangely compelled, moved even, by how genuinely upset and disappointed he seemed to be with himself.

It could be argued that Sanford doesn't deserve any empathy; after all, he voted to have Clinton impeached for the Monica Lewinsky scandal (which seems downright quaint nowadays, doesn't it?). And anyone who goes into politics knows that they lose their anonymity and privacy in exchange for the power and clout that comes with any public office.

But I won't make that argument. This is one of the most unusual displays of humanity I've seen from a politician in a while. No sound bites. No stoic wife standing at his side, pretending she's okay with hearing her husband describe the "who, what, when, where, why, and how"s of his affair. No spokesperson whispering prompts into his ear. Just a man admitting he screwed up. I can't laugh or scoff at that. I can't make some sarcastic, biting, witty comment about that. I can't look at this as anything other than a man whose life seems to be unraveling, and unfortunately for him it's all happening under the gaze of the beast known as the 24-hour news cycle. For his and his family's sake, I hope he pulls it together.

Sigh. I must be getting soft in my old age.