This morning, during something like the 97th TV interview of his two-day-old campaign for comptroller, Eliot Spitzer was asked a question he had been asked probably 34 times or so already: What has changed about you since five years ago (when you were awful)?
This time, though, Spitzer got emotional. "A lot of pain, a lot of pain," he told Mika Brzezinski of Morning Joe, his voice quiet, almost quavering.
Moments of silence go by. Minutes. Maybe years. Brzezinski asks him if he's done. He is. Almost.
"You go through that pain, you change," he says, and it appears that only through the sheer strength of his enormous jaw is he able to hold back tears.
Was it real? A debate immediately began on Twitter:
.@jpodhoretz You know this how?— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) July 9, 2013
@MarkHalperin From watching. In close up.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) July 9, 2013
@MarkHalperin I've been watching him for 20 years and the one thing you can say about him is that he's not a good actor— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) July 9, 2013
Working against Spitzer is that Brzezinski basically commanded him to provide an emotional answer — "as personally as you can answer this question, don't give me a pat answer, don't give me one that you prepare in your mind" — to her banal question. That doesn't mean Spitzer's emotion was necessarily fake, but if it wasn't, he certainly has good timing.
Update, 1:20 p.m.: Joe Scarborough tells Politico, "Mika, who has long been the ES skeptic, said it was obvious up close that he was in pain. Faced flushed, etc. She said he was anguished."