At a press conference at 11:30 a.m. in his Manhattan offices, Eliot Spitzer announced that he would step down as governor of the State of New York. By his side was his wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, his wife of 21 years, who spent much of the last 48 hours in the same apartment with her husband (but reportedly in different rooms). Below, a rough transcript of his speech:
In the past few days I have begun to atone for my private failures with my wife Silda my children, and my entire family. The remorse I feel will always be with me. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the love and compassion they have shown me.
From those to whom much is given, much is expected.
I have been given much, the love of my family, the faith and trust of the people of New York, and the chance to lead this state. I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me.
To every New Yorker and to all those who believed in what I have tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize. I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been, but I also know that as a public servant that I and the people I work with have accomplished a great deal.
There is much more to be done, and I can't allow my private failings to disrupt this work. Over the course of my public life I have insisted, I believe correctly, that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can, and will, ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor. At Lieutenant Governor Paterson's request, the resignation will go into effect Monday, March 17, a date that he believes will permit an orderly transition.
I go forward with the belief, as others have said, that as human beings, our greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. As I leave public life, I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family. Then I will try once again, outside of politics, to serve the common good, and move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope for us and our children. I hope all of New York will join my prayers for my friend David Paterson as he embarks on his new mission, and I thank the public once again for the privilege of public service.
His resignation came just before a deadline that state Republicans had set for beginning impeachment procedures. But reports say that more likely the reasoning for the timing lay in Spitzer's efforts to make a deal with federal officials who may raise criminal charges against him. Lieutenant Governor David Paterson will be sworn into his new role later in Albany. The former state senator (representing Harlem) will be New York's first black governor, and only the fourth black to run a state in American history.