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'Exotic,' fine. But hold the Evita jokes, thanks

With congressional elections just three days away, the revelation of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford's Argentine adventure is not the top news in the local media. But everybody here likes a good scandal — especially if it confirms the long-held Argentine conceit that their women are the finest on earth. And that there's no better place for a love affair than Buenos Aires: Nary an article omits Sanford's early judgment that Buenos Aires is “a great city.”

But Argentina so far seems most tickled to hear itself called “exotic,” as Sanford did to justify his whereabouts before he spilled all the beans. The word appears just like that, by itself in quotes, in many of the headlines or leading paragraphs of articles coming down the pipe. Anyone would be a little surprised to be exoticized, but especially so in Argentina, a country that fancies itself as part of the first world.

The soundbite that doesn't get so much play is the one about Sandford having “spent the last five days of my life crying in Argentina.” Probably because Argentines don't like Evita jokes or Andrew Lloyd Webber as much as we do up north.

No one's talking yet about the identity of the mistress, but if this story manages to steal headlines from the election in the coming days, that will likely be the burning question.