Spitzer: 'You need skin as thick as a rhinoceros'
July 8th, 2013
09:52 AM ET
8 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 clichés 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. Ohio Dave

    New York City politics is becoming an unsavory freak show.

    July 8, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    "There's a lot of clichés 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."
    Someone needs to remind some on the right that their Christian God forgives, and God reserves judgment for himself.

    July 8, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. Clarke

    Sometimes, good people make bad choices in life. There are a lot of good people out there who just haven't gotten caught.

    July 8, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Borderless

    "You need skin as thick as a rhinoceros." Alternatively, you can refrain from hiring prostitutes while married and serving in public office. There's that option.

    July 8, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. Bob 'rehoboth-beach foodie" Yesbek

    The Lord will punish these sinners and their supporters to the max.

    July 8, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. Truth

    Instead of thick skin Spitzer, how about trying some morals....

    July 8, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. stoney brook

    Like JR Ewing so aptly put it. "Hey, once you get rid of the ethics hangups, life's a piece of cake Ha Haaaa!".

    July 8, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. Siestasis

    OOHHH Please – "the country of second chances"? I am so tired of hearing politicians that show terribly poor judgment and a lack of morals saying they need, no wait, that they DESERVE a second chance. Let their families give them a second chance I want someone who shows good judgment and does not use their "special position" to gratify their baser desires.

    July 8, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Fair is Fair

    Ohio Dave

    New York City politics is becoming an unsavory freak show.
    Consider the residents of NYC... their politicians come from their masses.

    July 8, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. Birchwood

    Probably never practiced morality in acting like a pig...... Rhinoceros Skin is not available to an animal such as you..... Money Money Money can buy anything in New York City........ Do you and Weiner belong to the same gym?

    July 8, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Matthew Kilburn

    One (or at least He) might be better served by a more sufficient control over his libido.

    July 8, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. abmri60

    Sex, drugs and rock and roll.

    July 8, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. budshot

    No, you don't need rhinoceros skin, you need to live honorably. That whole prostitute thing, Eliot? That's not thick skin, that's stupidity and selfishness. What is this constant need of yours to be in the public eye? It only brings you more ridicule, which is rightly deserved. There are other competent people who can carry the ball. Give it up, for the sake of all the New Yorkers at least.

    July 8, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. Iggy

    NYC is a joke. From them comes this list of immoral politicians a mile long. They are so used to it, they make excuses for their "leaders". I know- I used to live there.

    July 8, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. Patrish

    Why would anyone even consider electing one of these political losers (Weiner, Spitzer). They lie, they cheat, and have lose moral character, This is who you want handling your money, or running your government? Even though I vote Democrat, I wouldn't vote for either one of these jerks; however, if voters are stupid enough to elect them, they will be getting what they deserve.

    July 8, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. rogue351

    Money explains why he is getting back in the game. Nothing else. It is about the money.

    July 8, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    It's quite entertaining to listen to the right wing chastise Spitzer, while just a few weeks ago they defended Sanford.

    July 8, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. MaevenBeMe

    Well, I think Spitzer will fit right in in NY. Their mayor thinks he has the right to tell his constituents what to eat and drink, Spitzer will probably vet NYCs prostitutes. Honestly? I'm sick and tired of politicians who KNOW that poor judgement and abject stupidity are no problem for the voters in NY.

    July 8, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. Fiona

    Forget the thick hide, what you need is a gargantuan ego and an outsized dose of self-delusion.

    July 8, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. KeninTexas

    Yeah, the guy screwed up and was caught. He resigned and paid the price for it. Hopefully, he learned from it. Otherwise, he did a good job so I say, go for it. He is a much better candidate than others who do the same or worse, but then lie and try to cover it up.

    July 8, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  21. PigBodine

    I think someone has already had too much rhinoceros horn

    July 8, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Juan Valdez

    Sometimes you just want to play the back 9, not the whole course. If your regulars don't want to do that, you look for someone else.

    July 8, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. general tso

    @Rudy would be more credible if everything Democratic Party wasn't automatically stamped with his approval. Free thinking on occasion can be liberating....

    July 8, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. FreeDrop

    "Seeking a service" is what got him this far, isn't it?

    July 8, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Oh how they fail to mention SEN. DAVID VITTER!!!

    July 8, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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