Scandalous! Ten steamy affairs that rocked American politics [SLIDESHOW]

Former CIA Director David Petraeus’ infidelities have cost him his job as the nation’s top spy and threaten to destroy his legacy, built up over decades of successful military leadership.

But Petraeus is hardly the first vaunted public figure to find himself knee-deep in an embarrassing sex scandal. Take a trip down memory lane as The Daily Caller remembers some of the long-forgotten flings that showed this country that, in domestic politics, flags aren’t the only things standing at full staff.

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  • “Do you really comprehend how beautiful your smile is? Have you been told lately how warm your eyes are and how they softly glow with the special nature of your soul.”  Romantic, no?  Too bad these words weren't written for his wife, but rather, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's mistress.  After disappearing from the public eye, his staff told the media he was hiking in the Appalachian mountains.  In reality, he flew to Buenos Aires during Father's Day weekend to reconnect with his Argentine lover.  Although it cost him his political career, Sanford and his mistress are now engaged, so at least he's got someone to keep him company with all his free time.
  • Flash forward to 2007, when Senator Craig was arrested in an airport bathroom for allegedly initiating homosexual relations with the neighboring stall.  Craig maintains his innocence, although several men have come forward implicating Craig in gay stories of their own.
  • At least he was single!  Barney Frank, an openly gay Congressman for over 30 years, was caught paying for sex with a male prostitute in 1989 Massachusetts.  This wouldn't be SO bad except Frank then welcomed the prostitute to stay at his house, where he continued selling himself to other customers. Frank claims no knowledge of this, and even launched a House Ethics Committee to prove it.  They did, but Congressman Larry Craig called for his removal...
  • Nevada governor Jim Gibbons filed for divorce from his wife during his first term in office. She alleged in the proceedings that Gibbons was infatuated with one Reno woman and also had an affair with Playboy model Leslie Durant, who he was seen with at the Reno Rodeo. Gibbons later deposed that he hadn't had sex in 15 years, let alone with a playmate, although he was caught sending over 800 text messages  in one month to the other Reno woman, all on a state-issued phone.
  • When Grover Cleveland ran for President in 1884, rumors circled that Cleveland had fathered an illegitimate in Buffalo, NY.  His Republican opponents taunted him, teasing "Ma, ma, where's my pa!"  Instead of denying it, Cleveland told his staffers to "tell the truth," and admitted that he paid child support for a son who may have been his.
  • Speaking of Ted, who can forget the famous "waitress sandwich" incident?  Supposedly, Senators Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd were drunk in La Brasserie one night with two young blonds. After Kennedy repeatedly asked one if she'd have sex with Dodd, the girls left to the bathroom. While they were in there, Kennedy forced a waitress onto Dodd's lap while he rubbed his genital parts against hers. Kennedy was never charged with sexual assault.
  • Among all of JFK's alleged mistresses, Mimi Alford's story has to take the cake.  According to Alford's memoirs, the 19 year-old intern went swimming with the President and a couple of his staff when she was only four days into her position.  After the dip, Kennedy led her on a tour of the White House, and took her virginity in Mrs. Kennedy's bedroom.  This developed into an 18-month affair, where they not only engaged in intercourse regularly, but JFK once watched Alford perform oral sex on an aide, and asked her to "take care" of his younger brother Ted.
  • At the start of his second presidential campaign, ex-Senator Gary Hart faced rumors of womanizing and engaging in extramarital affairs.  An emboldened Hart told press, "Follow me around. I don't care. I'm serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They'll be very bored."  A few weeks later, the Miami Herald caught a young woman leaving Hart's apartment.  Hart still pleaded innocent until a photo surfaced - one in which a 29 year-old model sat on Hart's lap aboard a yacht adequately named "Monkey Business."
  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Vallaraigosa was widely seen as a "family man" until he separated from his wife due to an affair with Telemundo anchor Mirthala Salinas.  The episode killed both their careers, and their romance didn't even last.
  • In 1994, Representative Mel Reynolds (D-Ill.) engaged in a sexual relationship with a 16 year-old.  He claimed that charges were racially motivated and won the seat in re-election.  The next year, however, Reynolds resigned after being convicted of criminal sexual abuse, child pornography, and other charges.

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