Reporters standing on the red carpet for Alex Gibney’s new, as-yet-untitled documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival all wondered the same thing: Would its subject, disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer, show up?
They found instead a lone Mr. Gibney. “There are a lot of lessons to be learned, not just about Eliot Spitzer,” he said of his movie, “but about all of us. How do we judge our elected officials? What of it is important to us? What of it doesn’t matter?”
Dressed in a black blazer, white open-collar shirt and blue jeans, Mr. Gibney stuck his hands in his pockets and ventured that Mr. Spitzer may not be any worse, or different, than lots of people in politics.
“President John F. Kennedy had prostitutes in the White House-we don’t talk about him as the scandal president,” he pointed out.
Perhaps fearing queries on the same topic, political bigwigs who attended skipped the red carpet and headed right for their seats: Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, in neck tie, got there early. What brought him here, asked the Transom?
“My wife,” he said.
Mr. Kelly flirted with a run for mayor previously, and could possibly throw his hat back into the ring one day. Any lessons he thinks he could learn from Mr. Spitzer’s saga?
“I hope not,” Mr. Kelly said with a laugh.
The two-hour movie gave generous room to conspiracy theories about unfair treatment in Mr. Spitzer’s prosecution, and a number of people headed for the exits immediately afterward, including Roger Stone, a Republican operative who specializes in the dark arts of political combat. An attendee heard Mr. Stone saying the filmmaker and movie organizers could “eat shit.”
Attempting to flee through the wrong door, Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman was loudly redirected to a proper exit by a female usher. Asked if the movie might have an impact on Mr. Spitzer’s possible return to elected office, Mr. Zuckerman, who flirted with a run for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand, said, “I don’t think the movie will affect it one way or the other. I don’t see how he comes back.”
A few Democratic operatives said afterward that they were impressed with how disciplined Mr. Spitzer appeared in the movie, sticking to his favorable talking points. If only he had been that disciplined while in office, they lamented.
Walking down the street, the man who made Mr. Spitzer’s memorable television ads, Jimmy Siegel, flashed a smile, a blond woman hanging on to his arm. “I don’t think it’ll hurt him,” Mr. Siegel said. He said he’d work for Mr. Spitzer “in a New York minute!”