Spitzer: 'You need skin as thick as a rhinoceros'
July 8th, 2013
09:52 AM ET
9 years ago

Spitzer: 'You need skin as thick as a rhinoceros'

(CNN) - Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace over a prostitution scandal, said Monday morning he made his decision to re-enter politics as recently as this past weekend.

In a series of media interviews, Spitzer attempted to explain his surprising revelation from Sunday night that he plans on running for city comptroller in this year's election.

The announcement quickly invoked other recent attempts at political comebacks–namely Anthony Weiner and Mark Sanford–but Spitzer says his campaign is not a quest for redemption.

"If that's what I want, then I don't think this is the path to it. What I am seeking is service," he said on CBS' "This Morning."

But Spitzer clearly acknowledged he knows his path back into politics will reopen the scandal that derailed his career in 2008. Already the New York Post, known for its sometimes controversial headlines, made Spitzer the focus of its front page Monday morning: "Here we ho again!"

Attempting to brush it off, Spitzer said his strategy for countering the jokes is "willpower."

"You need fortitude. You need skin as thick as a rhinoceros. And you need a desire to serve the public," he said on CBS.

Spitzer said in his interviews that he was motivated to run not by recent political comebacks–such as Weiner's rise in the polls for New York City mayor or Sanford's successful congressional campaign–but by personal pleas from New Yorkers themselves, who've asked him to get back into public service, he says.

"I don't want to say I saw Anthony, but I think the more important point may be...this is a land of second chances," he said in a radio interview on the Bill Press Show. "There's a lot of clich├ęs on both sides of that one. But I think it is a land of forgiveness, of people in their natural goodness (who) understand the fact that...we sin, we pay a price and hopefully continue."

Pressed further on whether Weiner's plunge into the mayoral race made an impact on Spitzer's decision, he said on CBS he'll "have to make a case very different than any other person has made."

"I expect I will make it every day between now and the election," he continued.

The former governor, who also hosted a show on CNN following his resignation, said he discussed his last-minute decision with his family. He also shot down rumors that he and his wife are separated.

"I wouldn't do this if I didn't think the family would be supportive," he said on CBS.

"Politics is a contact sport. I made significant errors. I stood up, accepted responsibility, resigned," he said earlier on the Bill Press Show. "I will say to the public look what I've done in the intervening five years. Look what my record was as attorney general and governor. And I hope the public feels that it can extend its vote to me once again. That's all I can ask for."

Filed under: Eliot Spitzer • New York
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Wake up People!

    What Weiner did and this guy are completely different situations. Weiner texted a pic of his weiner.... Who cares? As long as it wasn't to an underage child. Then there is Sanford, who showed extremely poor judgment, lied to his family and constituents but managed to make a comeback..... But Spitzer hiring prostitutes??? I think he needs to go and hide his head in shame.

    Dude, give up politics and get a REAL job......
    They're always talking about minorities being lazy..... It's funny they all drop out the spotlight for a minute and they expect people to forget.

    I wonder what would happen if he looked like me......

    July 8, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Evelyn Connaway

    I find that both Spitzer and Weiner in their bad behavior, was against themselves and family, not anyone else. I don't remember any corruption by them – in their positions – against their state or the government. We have people in congress who did the same things, plus worse. Do you only get forgiven if your a republican. Anyway, that's God's job to be judge.

    July 8, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. TB

    If he is a good administrator, I don't understand why his personal transgressions should matter at all. If he did his job well and the people would like him to continue doing that job so be it. Enough with all this moral judgment, no one is perfect and if his 'sins' don't affect his ability to get the job he was elected to do done then who cares?

    July 8, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    First of all, Spitzer was formerly known as the "Sheriff of Wall St." He stopped white-collar crime in it's tracks! And that means a lot in terms of being comptroller. He is definitely the right guy for the job and someone who knows the city.

    July 8, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    It's quite entertaining to listen to the right wing chastise Spitzer, while just a few weeks ago they defended Sanford.
    Some pretty low-hanging fruit there... having a bad day?

    July 8, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. Romney is STILL NOT My Hero

    This needs to stop saying words like "thick skin" and "service" in the same sentence or context, if he wants to continue this supposed race of his.

    July 8, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. Tony

    I am a democrat from Brooklyn NY and i will not vote for Spitzer. this is the guy is the one who brought me Cuomo i cannot stand this current NY gov i don't trust this guy.

    July 8, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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