Liveblogging Spitzer’s resignation

The deathwatch for Spitzer’s career is in full swing — wall-to-wall TV coverage; a packed press room; endless talking heads trying to find something to say while they wait for Spitzer to show up.  We just finished watching a helicopter shot of the motorcade.

Spitzer’s staff is entering the room now, and Spitzer is now at the podium with his wife.

“I have begun to atone for my private failings…. I have been given much … I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me.  To every New Yorker … I sincerely apologize.”

“I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people’s work…. I can and will ask no less of myself [than I have asked of others in public life].  For this reason, I am resigning from the office of Governor.  At Lt. Gov. Paterson’s request, the resignation will be effective Monday, March 17.”

“I hope all of New York will join in my prayers for my friend David Paterson….”

And that’s it.  No questions, and he’s out of the room.  He did make clear that he is done with politics.  He also spoke of his governorship in terms of “what might have been.”  Indeed.

Staggering.  Just staggering.

UPDATE (By Bob): Quote of the day, from Ashley Alexandra Dupré’s (aka “Kristen:” Client #9′s Mayflower Hotel escort) MySpace page: “What destroys me, strengthens me.” Food for thought Governor: maybe it’s all for the best. Hat tip, NYT.

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38 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Neologism

    CNN's Wolf Blitzer "spitzering".  

  2. was he a big enough boy

    to stand on the podium himself, or did he drag his wife up for another final shot of public humiliation?

    • It seems to me

      that, at this point, it has got to have been her decision to be up there.  He's in no position to demand anything of her that she doesn't want to do.  If she didn't want to stand next to him, she wouldn't have.

      • psychological abuse

        i hope that you are correct.  however, spitzer has clearly been a master manipulator for years (reportedly, he has been screwing prostitutes for 10 years).  people in abusive relationships do things against their will all the time because they are scared and manipulated into doing them.  not all spousal abuse is physical, and even brilliant legal minds can fall prey to abuse.  given what we've just learned about him, it makes sense to question whether his wife is acting of her own free will.  we can;t know, but we should question.

    • Oh it was so much worse

      than last time.  The talking heads on CNN were saying that the poor women has aged years in the past few days.  It was pathetic.  I hope to god she doesn't watch any of the coverage.

  3. By the way,

    I cannot agree with those, like David Bernstein at the Phoenix, who insist that Spitzer's conduct was a "discreet, private" matter of "adultery."  If Spitzer had simply had an affair that later became public, it would have been embarrassing, but IMHO he never would have resigned.  He resigned because he appears to have committed a variety of crimes.  Like it or not, hiring women for sex is illegal, and that's apparently what he did (though it's a state crime, so he may or may not be charged for it).  In addition, he apparently structured his payments for those services in ways that he surely must have known were either illegal or were so close to the line as to be very, very risky (reports are that that crime -- "structuring" -- is what he may be charged with).  In addition to the whole Mann Act/"transporting across state lines" thing, which may or may not be a factor.

    Disagree with laws against prostitution, and against structuring financial transactions, all you want.  Fact is, those laws are on the books, and they are routinely enforced (unlike the ancient laws against adultery).  That's why he quit.

  4. This whole episode... very, very sad for everyone involved.  How can a smart man be so stupid?  I don't get it.

    • Nor I

      Its not like he had no idea how crimes of this nature are investigated.  He investigated them, and was good at it.  He understood how banks scutinize transactions more than almost anyone.  It is just crazy.

    • my guess

      he is really good at compartmentalizing. and when he's off the clock, he is off the clock.

    • See $quot;Pursuit and Dalliance$quot; for my opinion of

      "How can a 'smart man be so stupid' - there is a difference between intellectual gifts of certain kinds and either maturity, or good moral character.

  5. I wonder

    What David Vitter of LA has to say about this incident since he didn't resign when the people found out he was visiting prostitutes?

    • David Vitter has to say...

      Conservatives need extra votes in the Senate to block cloture on popular measures like:

      1. giving troops appropriate vacation time from tours of duty 2. de-funding the Iraq War 3. investigating telecoms that do illegal acts for the President.

      So, any conservative principles about monogamy are subservient to conservatives' need to exercise power to thwart the will of the people. Which is to say...

      It's OK if you're a Republican!

  6. No questions

    I can't really blame him for not taking questions. What could the press possibly ask that would add anything to the discourse? He's stepping down, and I know as much as I need to.

  7. well, hey

    at least he had the decency to resign.

    A certain US Senator of the other party, who did a little toe-tapping and plead guilty to it, is still in office.

    • Illegitimate comparison

      See, I think that is an inappropriate comparison. Many people here have said that if a politician (or others for that matter) have an extramarital affair it is their own thing and it is between the person and their spouse. I think that is the case with senator tappity-toes.

      Spitzer did something(s) illegal... while governor... after having prosecuted people in similar situations.

      • So did Craig...

        He propositioned for sex in a public bathroom! It doesn't get much more illegal than that. Furthermore, there's a huge amount of hypocrisy in there, since he's the very same guy who's been trying to thwart glbt equality since he's been in office. That's as hypocritical as a former AG being caught paying for a prostitute, when he's prosecuted similar prostitution rings in the past. Maybe even more so, because Larry Craig's position - and hypocrisy - on glbt rights effects tens of millions of people.  

        • Propositioned - but paid?

          If you walk into a bar and find someone to go to a hotel with is that illegal?

          Hypocrisy is huge, but not illegal. Is Craig a jerk? Yeah, but that's not the question.

        • Doesn't get much more illegal?

          Yeah, laundering tens of thousands of dollars and a decade of paying for hookers while prosecuting prostitution rings is THE SAME as asking a dude in an airport bathroom for a hummer.  

      • How about a comparison with Vitter

        David Vitter, senator from Louisiana, paid for sex in 2007.  He just said he was sorry and wouldn't talk any more about it.  Classic IOKIYAR.

        • IOKIYAR?


          • It's OK If You Are a Republican

          • It's OK If You Actually Repent

            Let's compare Vitter's statement with Spitzer's.   Vitter:

            This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there - with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.

            Notice the acknowledgement that it was a "very serious sin".  Even without the word "sin", Spitzer doesn't even acknowledge that he did wrong, he just calls it "private failings", and claims he has "begun to atone" for them already.  His statement is here.

            There's a difference between, years later, feeling confidently forgiven after having asked for forgiveness, and claiming the next day to have already begun to "atone" without even seeming to ask for forgiveness.  He even seems to be seeking our sympathies that he's going to be stuck with remorse.

            They also have a different idea about "taking responsibility".  For Vitter, it is simply accepting that it was his decision, his character, he caused it.  Spitzer seems to feel that responsibility is a consequence, not a cause.

            • Huh, interesting.

              Seems like you think the guy who couches his public apology in what sounds like Christian terminology is sincere, whereas the guy who uses terminology more associated with the Jewish faith is faking it.

              But that couldn't be it, could it?

              Plus, you of course have no idea what Spitzer has said in private to his wife and his family, yet you assume he hasn't asked them for forgiveness.  Because that assumption helps your predetermined narrative.

              Vitter is as bad as any of the rest of them.  Don't kid yourself.

              • yeah interesting

                OK, I've been reproached, but now I'm ready to respond.  I hadn't realized it was a Jewish-couched statement, apparently I can't tell secular from Jewish, without something obvious about it (maybe it should have been obvious to me Spitzer is Jewish?).  Plus, there's the whole Christian "everyone should be Christian" thing anyway, but we don't need to get into that, I don't agree anyway (though I do apparently think that everyone should apologize the way I think people should apologize, but that's for social purposes, not for their souls or anything).  I was only trying to explain why Vitter's apology was accepted and he didn't get forced out, just based on why it seemed acceptable to me.  I happen to have the same religion/thoughts about these things as most other people in this country do, so usually I can just talk out of my ass think how I feel, and its usually how most people feel (sometimes they don't know how they feel).  And, I wasn't suggesting Spitzer was faking anything (oh, yeah, I guess I had been saying he engineered this whole thing purposefully for some reason, but I no longer think that now what I've learned he's been doing it for ten years (though is there proof of this?)).  I was getting back to my other point on this thread that Dems don't see prostitution as a "very serious sin" that affects the public, but only as a "private failing", whatever "failing" means (unless, a Jewish term too?).  

                And it didn't matter what he said in private, I'm concerned about the public aspects.

    • probably wanted to resign

      maybe this is a good way to re-enter the private sector.  McGreevy's book made him some money, and he got a job at a law school teaching ethics, and did some major groundwork in the war on marriage too.  Note that when a Dem gets caught doing something like this, there is always a loud uproar that there is nothing really wrong with it (with sympathies to the wronged wife, but that's just because she's a wife).

      • You are so full of crap.

        Do you notice anyone on this site backing Spitzer?  Saying that he shouldn't have resigned?  Excusing his behavior?  I sure don't.

        You're just making shit up.  What's really amazing to me is the utter lack of outcry from Republicans when guys like Vitter got caught.  There, I think, is a big difference between Democrats and Republicans.  When our guys screw up, we call them on it.  Republicans, in contrast, seem to cowed by those in positions of authority to say anything about it.  Kinda pathetic, really.

        • I don't think he should have resigned

          There isn't much outcry from Republicans over this, either, is there?  Conservatives generally feel that indiscretions should be hushed up before the children hear about them, not blared over the television, and that life should go on after a little bit of private repetence.  The Clinton haters who pushed that saga so hard were Clinton haters first and conservatives second, I think, and did a terrible disservice. I actually think liberals liked keeping that story in the news more than conservatives, who found it distasteful, while liberals liked how it proved that everyone does it and allowed teachers to talk about oral sex in schools.  I think Clinton handled that episode properly, and continues to.  (And guess what, he did not have sexual relations with that woman, in the important sense).  

          None of these stories should be in the news, it is part of the denigration of morality that the media and liberals enjoy so much, the media because it sells and liberals because it erodes moral expectations.   They won't say the behavior is bad in general.  When it hits a Republican, they revel in the hypocrisy (but who's being hypocritical again?  Is it bad or not?), when it hits a Dem, it's more "uh, I guess we have to be consistent, after all, he's broken a law, but it's a dumb law".

          As to how this site has reacted, it has been pretty consistent that people are just shocked that he screwed up like a maroon, with parenthetical asides that he didn't really do anything so bad.

          Here's Laurel's reaction, which got straight sixes (6.00 / 8)

          / eyes rolling /

          if this is true, i'm f*cking mad at spitzer.  not for hiring a prostitute (something i think should be legalized and regulated), but for a) being a hypocrite and cheating on his wife, and b) for doing something so mind-numbingly stupid before he did right by his state and made NY a marriage equality state.

          Ryan got five sixes for this one:

          You'd think someone could stop those kinds of things for a 4 year long term... I honestly don't care about him going to a prostitute, but the fact that it's a) illegal and b) he got caught, this could seriously wreck his administration. What an idiot...

          11 sixes for sco's snark:

          OK, sure.  But did he buy expensive drapes for his office?

          Heartland Dem almost condemns the behavior, but only for public office holders:

          Makes me want to disengage completely.  When people who choose to be in public office knowingly commit adultery and other behaviors that are scandalous, it distracts and detracts from the mountains of work that is needed.

          I could care less about Mr. Spitzer's sex life.  I want leaders to show decorum and integrity in their behavior in order to promote the common good not the tabloids.

          Puke, puke, puke!

          These are all from the first thread about it here.  If you can find me a comment or post condemning prostitution or adultery in general, let me know.  Also, if you see a Conservative site making a bigger deal out of this than they did Vitter, let me know.

          • dearest they

            "If you can find me a comment or post condemning prostitution or adultery in general"

            you just quoted me above, being pissed at spitzer for cheating on his wife.  that is called ADULTERY.  maybe you missed it the first time because you were reading the reader's digest condensed version?  

            • Still muted

              OK, yeah, but that sentiment is what I was referring to with my original "(with sympathies for the wronged wife, but that's just because she's a wife)" admission.  It's not that you think the adultery is bad (you don't), it's sympathy for the wife, you're personally pissed at him for hurting her.  It's just another chance to indict marriage and men for you.  Adultery is not really about cheating, or exposing someone to std's, those are things unmarried couples can do to each other, it's about the having sex with someone you aren't married to, and you don't object to that part of it.  If the wife had come along for a three way, it'd still be adultery, but not cheating.  

              • well!

                imagine my surprise that what i thought i was thinking about adultery wasn't actually what i thought at all!  i am so glad that you know my thoughts better than i do and have taken a few of your precious moments to clear the sawdust from my head and tell me what it is i am supposed to have really thought instead of what i thought i had thought.  does this qualify as a known unknown, or an unknown unknown?

  8. Just Unbelievable

    For someone who revolutionized the role of the state Attorney General and won with (I believe) the largest victory in a contested NY gubernatorial ever, this is a stunning downfall. How people like this can be so self-destructive, I don't understand.

    Oh, and by the way, a comment for anyone who doesn't see all that much wrong with Spitzer's actions here (at least the prostitution part). Spitzer has three daughters, and the oldest one is around 18 years old. The woman Spitzer did this with is 22 years old, only four years older than his own daughter.

    Any way you look at it, that is just disgusting.

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