MSNBC's Smerconish to Spitzer: Was Your Resignation 'Unwarranted?' 'End' of Sex Scandal?

 

Hardball guest host Michael Smerconish on Monday was so gentle with reformed prostitution patron Eliot Spitzer that even the former governor seemed uncomfortable. Talking about Spitzer's new run for New York City comptroller, Smerconish enthused, "Governor, does running now mean that resigning was unwarranted?"

He continued, "Would a Spitzer victory mark the of end of the sex scandal as we know it? And I'm asking, really, have we become too intrusive into our elected officials' and candidates' private lives?" This appeared to be too much for Spitzer. He allowed, "Look, I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask, because I have a perspective that is so tailored to what I've been through." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Not letting the topic go, the guest host said of the prostitution scandal: "If you're a competent guy, and I think Eliot Spitzer is a competent guy, then beyond the schadenfreude, what business is it, really of ours?"

A bashful Spitzer again admitted, "Well, I like hearing that. But, again, I think I'm not the one in the right position to embrace it and say 'Aha. You're right and you're wrong.'"

Smerconish also lobbed this softball: "Is compartmentalization a part of what goes on? In other words, too often do we ascribe to one's behavior public life th

at which goes on in their private life?"

A partial transcript of the July 8 segment, which aired at 5:34pm ET, follows:  


MICHAEL SMERCONISH: New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned from office in March of 2008 because of his relationship a prostitute. Today, we learned that Spitzer is making an attempt for a second political act, announcing that he will run for New York City comptroller. This year has seen former political stars sidelined from public life as a result of their own personal behavior and misjudgments launch campaigns for redemption and for public office once again. Mark Sanford, the disgraced former governor of South Carolina who left the state on taxpayer funds to travel to Argentina to visit his mistress in 2009 recently won election to the House. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner left Congress in 2011 after sexual pictures of him surfaced on Twitter. After two years of elusiveness, Weiner now finds himself neck-in-neck, if not leading the race, for mayor of New York City. Spitzer, like Weiner and Sanford, is gambling that voters will forgive him and look beyond his previous misconduct five years after leaving public office. Former governor and now-candidate Eliot Spitzer joins me now. Governor, does running now mean that resigning was unwarranted?

...

SMERCONISH: Will we see your wife on the campaign trail? She's in? Family's committed to this.

ELIOT SPITZER: Yes.

...

SMERCONISH: Would a Spitzer victory mark the of end of the sex scandal as we know it? And I'm asking, really, have we become too intrusive into our elected officials' and candidates' private lives?

SPITZER: Look, I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask, because I have a perspective that is so tailored to what I've been through.

...

SMERCONISH: Is compartmentalization a part of what goes on? In other words, too often do we ascribe to one's behavior public life that which goes on in their private life?

...

SMERCONISH: If you're a competent guy, and I think Eliot Spitzer is a competent guy, then beyond the schadenfreude, what business is it, really, of ours?

SPITZER: Well, I like hearing that. But, again, I think I'm not the one in the right position to embrace it and say "Aha. You're right and you're wrong."

 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org