Eliot Spitzer admitted that he has made mistakes but New York City voters should overlook them as they are not the totality of his career.
He made the comments in a Democratic primary debate for the Big Apple's comptroller, taped on Friday morning.
Spitzer's opponent Scott Stringer went on the offense in a debate hosted by ABC News New York on the prostitution scandal that led Spitzer to resign as New York governor saying that he was a "colossal failure as governor of New York" who had to resign in disgrace.
"I don't think anyone's going to trust you given your track record," Stringer said. "You broke your own eggs because you were engaged in illegal, illicit activity."
The first question in reference to Spitzer's scandal came from ABC News New York political reporter Dave Evans when he asked the former governor if his decision to run for a citywide office was a matter of personal redemption.
Spitzer answered with a clear, "No."
Jennifer Fermino of the New York Daily News pressed the topic further asking why New Yorkers should trust him with their finances after his failures as governor.
"My personal failures have been before the public" Spitzer said. "I've answered questions about it for weeks. I'm asking voters to look at the totality of what I've done."
But Stringer argued that Spitzer's failures matter as they show a lack of integrity, something Stringer referenced several times during the debate.
"He didn't take responsibility, he evaded it," the Manhattan Borough President said. "He resigned because there was a federal prosecution coming his way.
"You don't get promoted to another job, if you failed at your last one. I bring a record of integrity," Stringer added.
Spitzer called Stringer's comments "ad hominem attacks" and added that "I made mistakes, but I made a difference."
The disgraced former New York governor left office in March 2008 after it was revealed that he had hired a Washington, D.C. area escort service. While serving as attorney general for the state of New York, Spitzer spent years prosecuting New Yorkers who hired similar escort services.
Since leaving office, he has co-hosted a primetime show on CNN with Kathleen Parker starting in June 2010, which was canceled about a year later. He was then hired in March 2012 by Current TV to replace liberal talk show host Keith Olbermann, who had been fired by the cable news channel. Spitzer left Current TV
after it was announced in January that it was being bought out by the Arab news station al-Jazeera.
Stringer referenced Spitzer's television career more than once in the course of the hour-long debate.
"Where were you the last five years?" Stringer asked. "You had the luxury of being on the sidelines."
Spitzer announced in July
that he would be joining the race for New York City comptroller, the chief fiscal and auditing officer for the nation's largest city.
Spitzer lead Stringer in two polls released in late July
. In a Quinnipiac University Poll taken July 18-23 of Democratic likely voters, Spitzer had 49 percent of the vote to Stringer's 45 percent.
However, in the same poll, 53 percent of voters said that the prostitution scandal is a legitimate issue in the campaign.
In a separate Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll conducted July 24, 49 percent of those polled said they would vote for the former governor and 32 percent favored Stringer.
The Democratic primary for New York City comptroller is scheduled for Tuesday, September 10. Wall Street veteran John Burnett is unopposed
as the Republican candidate.
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