Tags: new | york | spitzer | leno
Image: Leno Asks NY's Spitzer: 'How Could You Be This Stupid?'
(AP)

Leno Asks NY's Spitzer: 'How Could You Be This Stupid?'

Saturday, 13 Jul 2013 09:00 AM

 

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Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor who is now attempting a political resurrection, is willing to talk about the prostitution scandal that forced him to resign, but perhaps not crack a joke about it.

Spitzer, who announced on Sunday he would run for New York City comptroller, traveled to California on Friday to appear on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, one of many TV comedians who has steadily made him the butt of jokes in the five years since the scandal.

Story continues below video.

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Leno praised the former governor before asking Spitzer: "How can you be this stupid?"

"I don’t say that glibly. I don’t say that glibly," Leno said. "You were a guy that seemed to have – every time they tried to get you – you seem to be the guy who crossed every “T” and dotted every “I.” How did you make this big a blunder?"

The former governor offered a somewhat serious defense: "Hubris is terminal."

"People who fall prey to hubris, end up falling themselves," Spitzer said. "And that I think is something to which people in government are susceptible to. Those who feel they are somehow increasingly important to power."

Five years ago, just over a year into Spitzer's first term as governor, he was identified as "Client No. 9" in a high-end prostitution ring. He resigned almost immediately.

The image of his visibly shaken wife, Silda Spitzer, standing at his side, became part of the inspiration for the hit TV show, "The Good Wife." And Spitzer, who had been know as the "Sheriff of Wall Street" during two terms as New York attorney general, was promptly dubbed the "Love Guv."

Spitzer entered the race Suday at the last minute and collected more than 27,000 signatures to qualify to be on the ballot.

"I’ve done many things in the past five years," he told Leno. "I’ve taught, I’ve been a host on CNN ... and run our family business. Done many things. Wrote a book. And at the end of this I said, “You know what, there’s a position there, which I’ve written about, thought about, the Controller’s position, from which I think I can actually serve.

"And I said to myself I want to contribute through public service. And the Controller, you know, it’s not a position — people say, “You’re taking a demotion. Why are you going from Governor to Controller? Nobody knows what it is.” Service is what I care about.

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As for Spitzer's Democratic rival, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, his campaign criticized Spitzer for "skipping town."

"Sadly for Jay Leno, Eliot Spitzer's resignation from office was no laughing matter," Stringer's spokeswoman, Audrey Gelman, said in a statement.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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