From NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Mark Murray
Over the last 10 years or so, American politics has seen its fair share of sex scandals -- both big and small. In fact, we've identified 23 since the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinksy affair in 1998. That comes to more than two per year. There were six each in 2008 and 2007, two so far in 2009 as well as two in 2006. That's 16 in just the past four years. There were five admitted in 1998.
-- Democrat Bill Clinton (1998): His affair with intern Monica Lewinsky
may very well go down as the biggest sex scandal in American history. It resulted in his impeachment (although he wasn't convicted by the Senate), the Starr Report, and the introduction of a cast of characters, including Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg.
-- Republican Bob Livingston (1998): In the aftermath of the Lewinsky scandal, Livingston was chosen to replace Newt Gingrich as speaker. But he, instead, admitted an affair and stepped down.
-- Republican Helen Chenoweth (1998): The archconservative Idaho congresswoman, who blasted Bill Clinton's infidelity, copped to a six-year affair with a married rancher from her home state in the 1980s. "I've asked for God's forgiveness," she said in 1998, "and I've received it."
-- Republican Dan Burton (1998): Another conservative and outspoken critic of President Clinton admitted to -- 15 years earlier -- having an extramarital affair and fathering a child out of wedlock. He admitted it after reporters said they were set to report on it.
-- Republican Henry Hyde (1998): When confronted by a reporter, the former House Judiciary Committee chairman became yet another Republican -- in the wake of the Lewinksy scandal -- to admit to having had an extramarital affair. His occured decades earlier.
-- Democrat Gary Condit (2001): The California congressman's affair with an intern became exposed after the girl, Chandra Levy, disappeared. It dominated national news before Sept. 11th. Levy was eventually found dead in a DC's Rock Creek Park and someone else was charged her murder this year.
-- Republican Rudy Giuliani (2002):
There was no greater New York tabloid story than former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's high-profile divorce from wife Donna Hanover. She accused him of "notorious adultery," and Giuliani is now married to then-girlfriend Judith Nathan.
-- Democrat Jim McGreevey (2004): The married with children former New Jersey governor -- with his wife by his side -- resigned as governor after dropping the bombshell that he was having a gay affair. "My truth is I am a gay American," left watchers slack jawed and serves still as one most stunning political press conferences of all time.
-- Republican James West (2005): The Spokane mayor, who long opposed gay rights bills, was recalled from office after a gay Internet sex scandal and more were revealed. He died a year later from complications with cancer.
-- Republican Don Sherwood (2006): The then-65-year-old Pennsylvania congressman lost his House seat after it was revealed that he'd had an extramarital affair with a 29-year-old woman who'd called 911 from a closet in Sherwood's DC apartment, charging that he'd choked her. He claimed he was just giving her a back rub. The woman had filed a lawsuit against him for $5.5 million, charging he'd repeatedly abused her during their relationship. She settled for about $500,000.
Video: Nov. 12, 2008: Former Rep Mark Foley breaks his silence on the scandal that forced him from office.
-- Republican Mark Foley (2006): A text message gay page scandal ended Foley's career and gave his Florida congressional seat to Democrats – albeit for one term.
-- Republican Newt Gingrich (2007): As he was weighing a 2008 presidential run, the former speaker acknowledged -- in an interview with the Christian conservative group Focus on the Family -- having had an extramarital affair during the 1990s.
-- Democrat Gavin Newsom (2007): The married San Francisco mayor admitted to sleeping with the wife of a top aide. But was it a career-ender? No. He's running for governor.
-- Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa (2007): Weeks after separating from his wife, the Los Angeles Mayor admitting to having a secret affair with a TV reporter. It, too, wasn't a career ender. He was poised to run for California governor before deciding against it this week.
-- Republican David Vitter (2007): The married Louisiana senator got caught up in the DC Madam prostitution scandal. But after his wife chastised the media at Vitter's mea culpa press conference, he's stuck it out. And despite the scandal, he's favored to win re-election in 2010 – because of Democrats' current lack of a committed candidate.
-- Republican Larry Craig (2007): "I'm not gay," were the words that made headlines from the press conference where the Idaho senator professed his innocence of charges that he had solicited gay sex in a bathroom stall in the Minneapolis airport after he'd pleaded guilty to those charges.
-- Democrat Tim Mahoney (2008): The man who replaced Foley was eventually derailed by his OWN sex scandal, and the seat went back to the GOP.
-- Democrat Eliot Spitzer (2008): Always to be remembered as "Client No. 9," the meteoric rise of the career of Spitzer came crashing down after it was revealed he'd spent tens of thousands of dollars on hookers -- despite being married with kids.
-- Democrat David Paterson (2008): Soon after assuming office, the man who replaced Spitzer, acknowledged that both he and his wife had slept with people other than each other several years ago during a rocky period in their relationship.
-- Democrat John Edwards (2008): After the National Enquirer exposed Edwards' affair, the one-time Democratic shooting star finally admitted to sleeping with a woman his campaign hired to shoot Web videos despite his wife's very public bout with cancer and his 2008 presidential run.
-- Republican Vito Fossella (2008): The married former congressman from Staten Island, who had three children with his wife, admitted he'd had a secret affair with a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel -- who'd birthed his love child in Virginia -- after he was arrested for drunken driving. Democrats took over his seat in 2008.
-- Democrat Kwame Kilpatrick (2008): The Detroit mayor eventually ended up in jail after he was convicted of lying about a text message/sex scandal.
-- Republican John Ensign (2009): The Nevada senator admitted an affair with a staffer last week, stepped down from his GOP leadership post and all but eliminated his 2012 aspirations.
-- Republican Mark Sanford (2009): The South Carolina governor admitted to having an affair with a woman from Argentina after not being heard from for six days, his staff telling the media he'd been "hiking on the Appalachian Trail," and state legislators -- and even his wife -- not knowing where he was.
Are we missing any?
Video: Rachel Maddow is joined by Gina Smith, a reporter for "The State" newspaper who broke the story of Sanford's affaird.
*** UPDATE *** We've now updated the post with New York Gov. David Paterson and, as many readers pointed out, Newt Gingrich. We were unsure to include Gingrich originally because we were just looking at the past 10 years, but since he acknowledged it in 2007, then we included.
*** UPDATE 2 *** As our former colleague Andy Merten points out, Viagra received its patent in 1996. Coincidence?
*** UPDATE 3 *** We have updated with three more affairs revealed by Republicans in 1998 following the Lewinsky scandal -- Henry Hyde, Dan Burton and our first woman on this list, Helen Chenoweth.