Eliot Spitzer, Public Relations Ace

It happened. There was pandemonium after a brief statement. Spitzer read terribly. Reuters in the second row, the AP in the third on the aisle, another New York Post boy in the third. Spitzer’s wife also stared at his speech.

She looked like she’d been beaten with a sock of oranges all night.

This speech was one of the most terrible, upsetting things I’ve ever seen.

His eyes were red and deep-set. His posture was all crazy, his shoulders were high. And no one knew what the words meant.

Nothing about this was reassuring.

“What did you do!” yelled a reporter—this was New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser, in the front row. On tape, it sounded like: “What did she do?”

(Peyser had run 12 blocks to get there, and it paid off in seating. It was remarkable how long it took reporters to arrive. I was at home in the East Village, eating some cheese, and saw the Times story after it had been online for five minutes. It took me another 15 minutes to get the right address for the office—and I still made it into the second row.)

The reporters asked if he was resigning but he was already gone. Contrary to the quick update that The Times made to their story, he did not slam the door, he merely closed it.

The reporters were already filing. One barked into his phone: “When the door opened up, he had his arm around his wife. They were finishing an embrace as the door opened up.”

The most Nixonian and ill-advised thing the governor said was: “I will report back to you in short order.” The state was leaderless. He was missing in action. A new governor was not sworn in.

It was also a lie. “Short order” would have meant by 7 p.m. Monday night. He abandoned ship so that he might wrangle with lawyers.

Surely the other big-ticket johns caught up in this bullshit sting will fare better.

Eliot Spitzer, Public Relations Ace