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Jenny Sanford makes 'fascinating people of 2009' list

December 10, 2009 |  9:11 am

South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford with ABC's Barbara Walters
She was not the only political figure on the list -- First Lady Michelle Obama and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin both share the honor.

But surely she is an unusual selection to make Barbara Walter's list of fascinating people of 2009. a who's-who of controversy, tragedy and triumph that also includes Michael Jackson's daughter Paris and conservative Fox commentator Glenn Beck.

Jenny Sanford is the estranged wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who was just rebuked by the state Legislature for his AWOL flight to Argentina to visit his mistress.

Amid the scandal that erupted in the summer after he told his staff he was hiking along the Appalachian Trail while he was actually in Buenos Aires, Jenny Sanford became a new kind of political wife -- the kind who did not stand doe-eyed by her husband's side as he faced the harsh slings of public disapproval but picked herself up and moved on, leaving the governor's mansion with the couple's four children.

In the interview, which airs April 10, Jenny Sanford said it hurt when her husband described his mistress as his "soul mate." Asked if the marriage can be saved, Mrs. Sanford said, "The hurdles are significant."

Walters said she selected South Carolina's first lady, who is at work on her memoirs, because Jenny Sanford has "lived with dignity and integrity."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo Credit: Steve Fenn/ABC

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