March 11th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Blitzer: What was Spitzer thinking?

Spitzer was a fierce attorney general.
Spitzer was a fierce attorney general.

(CNN) – Elliot Spitzer was known as a fierce attorney general of New York State. I interviewed him back in March 2002 – only six months after 9/11 – about his criminal investigation into people falsely claiming some of the charitable funds that had been raised to help victims of the terror attack.

"There is grotesque self-interest and a violation of our common sense of decency when people would take advantage of the enormous generosity of the American public," he said, noting that some $2 billion had been given to the various 9/11 charities. He blasted those who show up pretending they lost loved ones in a horrendous effort to take advantage of the system." And he promised us this: "We will prosecute these types to the fullest extent of the law."

In the course of his career, he uttered those last words quite often – "the fullest extent of the law."

Now we are all watching to see if Spitzer has actually committed any crime - and, if the answer is yes, whether he will be prosecuted to "the fullest extent of the law."

His enemies would say yes. He has had many of them, given his tough-as-nails reputation for going after Wall Street insiders, mobsters, and yes, those engaged in prostitution rings. Back in 2004, as Attorney General, he announced the arrest of 16 people for alleged involvement in an expensive prostitution operation in Staten Island. The New York Times quoted him as saying at the time: "This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multi-tiered management structure. It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring."

Given that history, I can't help but ask that famous question that Jay Leno asked the actor Hugh Grant after he was busted for being with a prostitute: "What were you thinking?"

- CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Desire - Michigan

    Our country has so many serious problems, but when it comes to sex all media jumps on. It doesn't matter if it is Britney Spears or some well known politician. Celebrities and sex , American obsession. All this media circus for one politician and a prostitute. Who is the next one? I think we are ready for female president. There are no many male prostitutes, so we'll have less scandals. How much money are this journalist paid for all those hours waiting in front of Governors apartment?

    March 11, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. eb

    IF he was thinking he surely thought he could get away with it, that he was above the law or worse, arrogant enough to think himself more clever than the rest of mankind. And what about those wives standing by their crooked husbands.........sure this is no news to them but the perks are too attractive and they are obviously willing to pay that price....some get paid and others stay married.....

    March 11, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. Nipper

    Yet another reason why a WOMAN should be running the country.

    March 11, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Beverly Williams

    Maybe his GOOD friend Hillary can help him.

    March 11, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Hure

    It's high time prostitution got legalized. Even the enforcers cannot stay on the proclaimed right side.

    March 11, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Floridian

    I would like to say he wasn't thinking, but the elaborate scheme to make sure that the organization received his money, etc., makes you realize he put a lot of thought into this, unfortunately. Certainly a lot of thought into making it untraceable. Ugh.

    Perhaps his previous experience busting high end prostitution rings gave him the idea that he could successfully evade the law?

    March 11, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Gary in CT

    He was probably thinking that the Clinton's would pardon him.

    March 11, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Darth Vadik, CA

    Sooooo many outraged people.

    You know what, all of you SOOO OUTRAGED are probably the ones who have done this too.

    So shut up with the fake outrage.

    Having said this, Spitzer is a hypocrite, and that is the part I dislike. He went after prostitution rings as a New York Attorney General.

    That is the real outrage, so just drop it people, before we peak into your closets.

    March 11, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. Mary Ryan

    What in the world was his wife thinking when she appeared with him. It was so bad to see her in this horrible mess. Another mess is the Bush people spending millions to send letters to tell us our checks will be in the mail. Don't we owe enough. I am ashamed of the democratic party. $47 million dollars for mailings we don't need and these republicians are crazy as well.

    March 11, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Angela

    I think that Americans as a whole are too obsessed with the sex scandal. What someone does in their private life is their business and should be left out of politics. eg Bill Clinton.

    However, when a politician such as Larry Craig was to be morally superior, be the poster boy for family values and uses his elected office to preach his positions, then he better walk the walk. So for him to get caught doing what he is doing is in direct conflict with his political positions.

    As much as I hate to do it, I would apply that standard to Gov. Spitzer. If he had simply had an affair I would say a) butt out – that is his personal life. b) if you would persecute every politician for having an affair there wouldn't be very many left (on either side)

    However, he did break the law and for a former attorney general and governor to break the law is in direct conflict with his political position.

    March 11, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Sean McM

    Another male moral pigmy is exposed........... and the women in his life suffer the destruction he has caused.

    ..

    March 11, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Lois in CA

    He wasn't thinking with his brain, that's for sure.

    March 11, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    The worse part about this is that he broke the very laws he swore to uphold. He didn't steal any money? Isn't he paid by taxpayers money? Oh, so that means he took out a personal loan at the bank to pay all these thousands of dollars for this prostitute and her expenses and didn't use any govt. money he made as being governor to pay for this?
    I read just today that it was deposits made that drew the feds attention to him, some call it money laundering

    March 11, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. EAM

    My heart goes out to his wife and three young daughters. Mr. Sptizer will have to deal with his actions accordingly.

    March 11, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. KAY

    Bad news Clinton Supports!!!!!!! Rumor has it Bill Clinton was a client at the Emperors Club. Details should be coming out in about 2-3 weeks.

    March 11, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Dan, PA

    anything that is too good to be true is exactly just that – too good to be true. this governor run as an advocate for chance and will wipe clean the government of corruption. he was holier than thou.

    watch out obama supporters. wait until larry sinclair's case gets the light of day (if that will ever happen).

    March 11, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. Proud Independent

    Debbie – Wake up! every time there is a Republican scandal the Democrats scream abd every time there is a Democrat scandal the Republicans scream - it's the same knee-jerk reaction every time, regardless of the party!

    March 11, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. OBAMA 08

    Wolf you know and i know what he was thinking. "I will get away with it". " I am an American politician". just think of 2 of the ones running for office that got away with it. And I have to include Bill,which makes 3, in the running. We do not hold our politicians accountable. They protect each other. Nixon should have gone to jail. If you and I did his deeds we would surely served time, but no, his friend pardoned him. Regan forgot. You got to love Bush. He just tells the U.S. Congress "go scratch." And they do,Then we have Bill Clinton and his wife. They got away with it. Where did Hillary get the 5mi.? Moving a long to McCain, he got away with it many times and is now. What is the paperwork on his loan? Really doesn't matter what party. Many, way too many, get in there and spend OUR money and trash the laws of our land.

    March 11, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Alan A

    Is this all we get for our tax dollars:
    the identity of Client #9?

    March 11, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. Deon Knickerbocker

    Clearly Gov. Spitzer showed extremely poor judgement when he became involved with a prostitute. But this is all I've heard for two days now–what about the non-story of how the current administration has us enmeshed in a lose-lose situation in Iraq which is not only killing and maiming our young adults, but bankrupting the future for our children? I think this is much more important and worthy of broadcasting than a sad story of lust and poor personal judgment. News people have let us down badly in this regard. President Bush and his cronies must be held responsible and you need to push it.

    March 11, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. WISDOM

    I feel sorry for him and his family. May God forgive him.
    However, he should not only resign from the office, but also should pay all the legal penalties. I think this should also done to Mr. Clinton when he disgraced the white house. I guess, Clinton family don't know the meaning of the word "SHAME". They just use "it" to other people, for them? Oh NO! NO SHAME for Clinton! I think he may got a tip (scoring a tricky business with women) from BILY or maybe from Hillary. Who know?

    I think this high standard also should apply to Mr. Bush and his gangs. Lying to the public is, to me, worse than a sex scandal like this one.

    March 11, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. isaac

    unbelievable, and he is a Clinton Supporter and superdelegate...he's got it coming.

    obama 08

    March 11, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. Jake, California

    I do not support rape
    I do not support cheating on spouses
    I have nothing against the west and or America...but...

    geeeeeessss, western women know how to sexually provoke a man to the last animal in him!

    I am an African-born American and I grew up pretty much in Africa and yes, I liked girls, I had a few relationships back then but here in America....god knows what I, just like the millions of men out there, go throw each second that we have an eye site!

    You may misunderstand my statement to mean none-western women are not beautiful.....no no..this is not what I mean. Beauty is everywhere and universal. It is the DRESS CODE of the western woman that brings out the beast in a man...African women reveal it only at the appropriate time!

    I am afraid what my marriage will be like..I am praying to God to calm down the beast so I can concentrate!

    March 11, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. alice2

    Yes, he should resign. He can't be effective in his office now, since he is doing the same thing that he is prosecuting others for.

    BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT !!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. paul mcclanahan

    I DONT KNOW WOLF YOU MAY NOT GET THIS I HOPE YOU DO HILLARD WHILE OBAMA LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO HELP HIM FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH WAR AND ECONOMY AND HEALPH CARE FOR EVER CHILD AND ELDERLY INSU.GAS PRICES AND TO RUN THE WHITE HOUSE WITH THE TRUTH AND LET THE PEOPLE NO THE TRUTH I HOPE SHE DONT GIVE UP IF SHE DOES WE WILL LOSE TO THE REPUBLICANS IF SHE DOES I HOPE SHE WILL RUN THE 3 PARTY HUNDER OF THOUSANDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WILL GET HER IN THAT WAY WOLF I WILL BE WATCHING TO SEE IF YOU READ THIS WE CAN GET MILLIONS OF POPLES NAME IF SHE WILL GOD BLESS YOU WOLF I BEEN HERE SINCE 1940 PLEASE GOD READ THIS LET THE PEOPLE HER IT SOLONG I MAY NOT LIVE TO SEE THIS YOUR FREND WOLF PAUL MCCLANAHAN GRUNDY VA

    March 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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