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S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford did not follow the protocol for politicians who get caught with their pants down.

For most elected officials, it’s a three-step process … 1) have your wife by your side, 2) read a short prepared statement in which you “deeply regret” or “profoundly apologize” for your actions and 3) don’t – under any circumstances – take questions from reporters!

Needless to say, Sanford has always been a bird of a different feather, which the national media discovered firsthand at his press conference yesterday admitting an affair with an Argentine woman.

With his wife, Jenny, nowhere to be found – Sanford took the podium and delivered a rambling, twenty-minute address that seemed to begin mid-thought and trail on from there.

Over the course of his decidedly unprepared remarks, Sanford ended up covering most – if not all – of the admission-slash-apology bases, but the meandering methodology evident in both his address and a brief question-and-answer session had the packed hall of mostly national reporters scratching their heads.

“We’ve just witnessed one of the most remarkable political press conferences in recent memory,” wrote Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza, who referred to the event as “raw, emotional drama.”

Our friends at Talking Points Memo called it “One For The Ages.”

And here it is …