The latest news from Albany finds the principals in the Spitzer-Bruno-Cuomo battle defining and refining their positions. Last night, the governor finally abandoned what New York’s Steve Fishman called his “silly business-as-usual tactic” and deigned to hand-feed his side of the story to the Daily News. New York’s Hometown Paper reports today that Joe Bruno’s constant requests to use state aircraft were well known in Albany even before Day One; they became “almost a punch line” after Spitzer inauguration, when, the governor says, people would “just roll their eyes.” Still, Spitzer didn’t know his own top aides were scheming to expose Bruno, he told the News — and even if he did, the State Senate doesn’t have subpoena power over the executive branch anyway. You may notice that these three statements clash with each other slightly, but, hey, he’s new at this weaseling-out-of-tight-spots thing. He’ll get better.
Spitzer’s choice of which tabloid to turn to was obvious, as the Post devoured the red-meat aspects of this story with Murdochian gusto. Indeed, Ben Smith notes on Room Eight (via Gawker) that the Spitzerites made a mistake in leaking the air-travel docs to the Albany Times Union. “[I]f the Spitzer people had given the records to [the Post],” Smith quotes a friend saying, “the stories would all be about Bruno.”
And Bruno, meanwhile, got all but a ticker-tape parade in Saratoga, the hub of his district. In a gleeful speech yesterday, the senator mentioned several times that the State Senate does have subpoena power, according to the Times, and promised further investigation into Spitzer’s actions. From his tone, one would think Bruno was exonerated in the ongoing, and totally legal, Fed probe of his horse dealings. “There are nothing but winners when you’re in Saratoga,” he proclaimed. Could be, but down here in Manhattan all these guys seem like losers.