Maybe Eliot Spitzer Hasn't Changed At All

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Photo: Photo-illustration: Everett Bogue; Photo: istockphoto

Perhaps Eliot Spitzer's recent public-relations tour has led you to think that the hooker incident has imbued the governor with some humility. "At last," you murmured to yourself, watching him discuss confronting his "gremlins" with Matt Lauer on Today. Perhaps, while reading his well-considered opinions on Slate, you've thought: "What an intelligent, reasonable man this is; it's a pity he's no longer applying it to public service." THINK AGAIN. A gremlin still lurks inside Eliot Spitzer, as inspector general Joseph Fisch saw when he stopped by Spitzer's office to question him for his investigation into the State Ethics Commission and its alleged leaks of information to the Spitzer administration late last year.


Mr. Fisch started by asking where all the reporters were. “The security people downstairs told me they haven’t seen anybody in a couple of weeks,” he told Mr. Spitzer.

Mr. Spitzer did not take kindly to the remark.

“In fact,” Mr. Spitzer replied, “last Friday, there were photographers outside my residence; they followed me and my wife and my children; they are constantly inquiring of where I am and my whereabouts; and it is a presumption of people who are interested in my security that there is surveillance,” he said, “as there has been by individuals, paid for by individuals, corporations, law enforcement and others who have acted properly and improperly in an effort to intercept conversations of mine and other communications.”

Mr. Fisch responded, “all right,” but before he could turn to the next topic, Mr. Spitzer said, “I will add one other point,” and erupted over the Paterson administration’s release of some of Mr. Spitzer’s e-mail messages in response to a Freedom of Information Law request two weeks earlier. The former governor believed that the Paterson administration, which he referred to as “individuals within the chamber,” violated his privacy by doing so....

Mr. Spitzer then alternated between asking Mr. Fisch to ask him a question and cutting him off before he could, according to the transcript.

“My time is precious, Judge. What is your question?” he said, but then cut him off again, and criticized P. David Soares, the Albany district attorney, for “generalized incompetence” and for comments that Mr. Soares made in a report into his administration’s dissemination of travel records of the former Senate majority leader, Joseph Bruno.

Then he told Mr. Fisch: “I would like to see your questions so that my time is not taken up unduly, and I do not like questions about whether or not I’m surveilled.”

But Mr. Fisch could only get out a “Mr.” before Mr. Spitzer continued.

“If, you might have noticed the cover of the Sunday New York Daily News this past week,” he said. “Did you notice it?”

That front page, he said, featured a photograph of the former governor and his wife, Silda.

We wish Fisch had had the cojones to suggest that if Spitzer didn't want his time taken up with questions about the media, he maybe shouldn't have slept with a hooker. But actually, we're kind of glad he didn't, because then Spitzer might have actually vaporized him.

My Time Is Precious’: Spitzer Sets the Tone During Inquiry on Leaks [NYT]