The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe, quoting a South Carolina political columnist, said what happens now rest on the shoulders of Sanford's wife, Jenny.
"How quickly she forgives him, if she forgives him at all, is really where this all goes," he said. "It will determine whether or not he can continue as governor, because frankly the state probably won't have much confidence in him if his wife didn't."
Cordes pointed out that some politicians, such as San Francisco's Gavin Newsom, have managed to survive sex scandals (in Newsom's case, an affair with an aide), and asked if Sanford could do so as well.
O'Keefe said an affair becomes a disqualifier for a politician "when you so miserably explain yourself to your staff, your family, the press and the public in the way he did yesterday."
He acknowledged that 2012 is still far away and that Sanford could still turn things around.
"I would be shocked, however, if a Southern governor goes into early primary states and is able to convince people that besides the fact that I went missing for a week and didn't tell anyone where I was, you can still trust me to be president."
Barr noted that Sanford is very well known in the political community and among the "tea party" crowd, but for many people nationally the scandal will be their first exposure to him.
"The first thing they're going to know about Governor Sanford is this kind of weird series of events," he said. "…the just weirdness of this whole episode is really going to stick with people."
Watch the entire installment of Thursday's "Washington Unplugged" above.