Scandals Great For Comics and Blog Traffic


Scandals and resignations have dominated the news this week. The most prominent was today’s resignation of Eliot Spitzer for having answered the the ad above from the Emperor’s Club and appreciating Kristin’s “refinements.” In addition, Geraldine Ferraro resigned from the Finance Committee of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for her recent comments on Barack Obama and Dawn Wells who played Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island was arrested for possession of marijuana. I always thought that Ginger was the bad girl.

Spitzer’s sex scandal has been great for late night comics and also great for blog traffic. Jon Swift described What Eliot Spitzer Should Say To Save His Career. The top search leading people to the site the last couple of days has been for “Spitzer Kristin.” Even though this pulled up a picture of Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars and Heroes) in a Google image search, a lot of people still clicked through to the site after seeing the thumbnail of Kristen Bell!

For the benefit of those looking for the Kristen involved in the Spitzer sex scandal, The New York Times has tracked her down and here’s her picture. You decide if it is worth spending over $4000 on her and giving up a promising political career. This just shows how much smarter Bill Clinton was. He got it for free, and remained in office.


“Kristen” is actually Ashley Youmans, now known as Ashley Alexandra Dupré, and you can find out more about her at her MySpace page.

Gawker has some clips from Monday night’s jokes by David Letterman and Jay Leno. A clip from The Colbert Report is here. On Monday David Letterman presented the Top Ten Eliot Spitzer Excuses. Number one was ” I thought Bill Clinton legalized this years ago.” On Tuesday he presented the Top Ten Messages Left on Eliot Spitzer’s Answering Machine. Here’s some of the messages:

It’s Barack Obama. Remember our conversation about being my running mate? Nevermind.

Ralph Nader here, glad to hear I’m not the only politician who has to pay for it.

This is John McCain, if it makes you feel better, I once got caught having sex with Lincoln’s wife.

This is Senator Larry Craig. Do you ever go through the Minneapolis airport?

Paris Hilton here. I would have done it for free.

It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thanks, I’m no longer America’s creepiest governor.

Here’s a selection from some of the jokes told the last couple of days:

“You know, I’m a half-full kind of guy. I always try to put a positive spin on stuff. Sure, it’s a horrible story. On the other hand, you look at it this way, he was supporting New York’s number one industry.” –David Letterman

“He went through this call girl thing. … He was known as a regular customer. He was known as Client 9. It looks now like Client 9 will soon be looking for wife number 2.” –David Letterman

“Here’s one that is kind of cute. He would get the hookers, the call girls, the prostitutes, the whores, and he would run them down, put them on the train, Amtrak. Like they need more publicity. And he’d run them down to Washington, DC, and they’d check into a beautiful suite and have the rendezvous at a place called the Mayflower Hotel. Now that’s the difference between a Democratic and a Republican sex scandal. The Republicans have their rendezvous at an airport men’s room” –David Letterman

“Do you know what the highest paid government position in this country is? Anybody know? … It is working under New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. It pays like $5,000 an hour.” –Jay Leno

“As I’m sure you know by now, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has admitted that he was involved in a prostitution ring. Now this is the same man who when he was attorney general went after the prostitution ring. So apparently, it was for not giving him good service.” –Jay Leno

“Well, you know something, this shows you how the whole world is backwards. I mean, you got Democrats. Now, they’re supposed to be poor, right? Don’t Democrats traditionally represent the poor people? They’re paying $5,000 an hour for sex. You got the Republicans. They’re supposed to be rich, right? They’re cruising airport bathrooms trying to get it for free. What’s going on?” –Jay Leno

“The really ironic thing about this case — today, the hooker said Spitzer was done in a New York minute.” –Jay Leno

“Do you ever notice politics is the only profession when a guy gets caught with a hooker, the wife has to stand by his side. You know, if this guy was a plumber and he got caught with a prostitute, he’d have his wife’s SUV tire tracks over his head.” –Jay Leno

“It’s just mind-blowing that he spent $4,300 on a hooker. It just shows how high the cost of living is in New York. That same hooker would cost $50 in Newark.” –New York comic Lisa Landry

The New York Times reported that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was a customer of a high-end prostitution ring, that the prostitutes knew him as Client #9. Client #9, yeah. Not surprisingly, clients one through eight were Charlie Sheen.” –Conan O’Brien

“Here’s what happened, it was one of those sting deals. And they caught Eliot Spitzer, Gov. Spitzer, with a wire, recording him soliciting a prostitute. And I’m thinking, ‘Holy cow, we can’t get Bin Laden, but we got Spitzer. We got Sptizer.'” –David Letterman

“The thinking is the governor may step down now to spend less time with his family. The good thing is, he was caught soliciting a hooker, but on the bright side, it did not involve an airport men’s room.” –David Letterman

“The New York Times says that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is linked to a prostitution ring. … Gov. Spitzer, this is the latest, responded, just a few hours ago. He said, quote, ‘I violated my obligations to my family and I violated my sense of what is right and wrong.’ … Spitzer also admitted violating someone named Amber.” –Conan O’Brien

“Spitzer held a brief press conference yesterday, where he apologized to his constituents and to his family. He didn’t take any questions but retreated to the privacy of his home, where his wife repeatedly kicked him in the testicles.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Actually, she stood right next to him in the press conference. That is always amazing to me, how these guys get their wives to stand there and support them. … I don’t know what kind of zombie chow they put in these women’s food, but it’s mind-boggling. … I don’t want to rub it in to any of you visiting from New York, but here in California, our governor doesn’t have to pay for sex. When he wants it, he takes it.” –Jimmy Kimmel

Eliot Spitzer Got Off Track


This ad from 2006 shows how Eliot Spitzer failed to follow the path he promised voters.  Earlier in the day news stories reported that he was patronizing prostitutes for six years, and I now note that the article was updated to ten years, spending up to $80,000.

If this was simply a sex scandal it would be more a matter between him and his wife. At very least, the more I hear about Spitzer’s career as Attorney General there are questions of hypocrisy. I doubt that Spitzer would have shown any mercy towards someone else in his situation. From many of the accounts of his career I’ve heard today I get the impression he might have been overly concerned with personal destruction of his targets as opposed to simply upholding the law.

One of the more amusing accounts of the scandal comes from Iowahawk’s report that “Kristen” would “temporarily step aside in the wake of charges that she had engaged in sex with New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.” ABC News has interviewed an actual escort who has been hired by Spitzer who says he was a nice guy who tipped well.

Spitzer is rumored to be planning to resign tomorrow. Most likely he is holding off on resigning so he can make his resignation a part of any bargain. While it is understandable that Spitzer’s political career is finished, it is far less clear that there are significant legal issues here which warrant prosecution.

There are also questions as to why this investigation was initiated and why it continued to this stage. Some reports say that the investigation started over questions of whether the movement of money involved bribes–which certainly should have been investigated. However, once it was determined that this was to pay prostitutes I’m not sure there was reason to continue the investigation.

Eliot Spitzer Linked to Prostitution Ring

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has been lined to a prostitution ring which charges up to $5,550 per hour. The New York Times reports:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a person briefed on the federal investigation.

An affidavit in the federal investigation into a prostitution ring said that a wiretap recording captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a hotel room. The person briefed on the case identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.

Mr. Spitzer today made a brief public appearance during which he apologized for his behavior, and described it as a “private matter.”

“I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family and violates my or any sense of right or wrong,” said Mr. Spitzer, who appeared with his wife Silda at his Manhattan office. “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public to whom I promised better.”

“I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.”

I don’t devote much space to sex scandals, but I cannot help but wonder what could possibly be worth $5,550 per hour. Personally I don’t really care about his sexual activities, but also wonder how many prostitutes Spitzer prosecuted when he was Attorney General. Plus, whether or not I care what he does, there’s little doubt that enough people will care to probably end talk about him being a future presidential candidate.

Update: Eliot Spitzer Got Off Track

David Corn Accuses Clinton Of Smearing Obama on Iraq

Hillary Clinton has frequently used the Rove technique of attacking the opposition on their strongest points. This includes attacking Obama on Iraq even though on the fundamental question of supporting the war Clinton was wrong and Obama was right. David Corn writes that Clinton once again smeared Obama on Iraq.

After a review of Clinton’s distortions, Corn concludes:

This is not the first time Clinton has mischaracterized Obama’s position on Iraq. In New Hampshire, Clinton claimed that Obama had broken a significant promise: that when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2004 he vowed “never” to vote for Iraq war funding but then did so once he was in the Senate. This was part of her effort to persuade Granite State voters that Obama was an all-show/no-work hypocrite. There was one problem with her use of this example. It was not true. Though Obama did oppose an $87 billion funding bill for Iraq and other matters in 2003, he didn’t say he would “never” vote for Iraq war money. When he later voted for funding bills, he was not, as Clinton insisted, breaking a promise.

Clinton and her gang are certainly entitled to raise questions about Obama’s experience and his record–including on the war. Though Obama did speak out against the war before entering the Senate, he was not a leading voice of antiwar opposition in his first years as a senator. (Neither was she during those that period.) But Clinton and her aides have been peddling false information about Obama to undercut one of his primary arguments: she voted for the war; I was against it. Engaging in such disingenuous attacks may help Clinton beat back Obama, but it is hardly the way for her to counter Obama’s claim that she represents poltics-as-usual. It only proves his point.

A President from New York?

The New York Times looks at all the possible Presidential candidates from New York:

Imagine that it is two years from now, summer of 2008. The national party conventions are over. The nominees: Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, Republican Rudolph W. Giuliani and the Reform Party candidate, Michael R. Bloomberg.

What’s wrong with this picture? It’s implausible, but the very fact that it is considered within the realm of possibility — to say nothing of another Republican in the mix, Gov. George E. Pataki — is remarkable, given that no New Yorker has come close to the top office since Geraldine A. Ferraro ran for vice president in 1984. And not one has been elected president since 1944, when Franklin D. Roosevelt won a fourth term.

Has New York changed to become a spawning ground of presidential hopefuls? Has the nation changed to embrace its brand of politics? Is this New York-centric vision merely another example of self-delusion and news media hype?

They have a point that there are many New Yorkers with a chance at the White House. I just have two words to say to them: “Elliot Spitzer.” He wasn’t mentioned in the article and 2008 will probably be too early, but Spitzer may be the New Yorker who would make the best President. (Kerry/Spitzer in ’08?)

Spitzer’s Vision

History Wire reviews Spoiling for a Fight — The Rise of Eliot Spitzer. Noting he is only 47 year old, and has many election cycles to possibly run for President, they consider the possibility of Spitzer as President:

So the question becomes, would such a development be good for America? Spitzer’s remarkable career has been marked by outsized ambition. But while biographer Brooke A. Masters hasn’t given her heart completely to her subject, she contends that Spitzer doesn’t forge his public campaigns against business and labor to become famous. “Rather,” she says, “he wants to implement his vision for improving the world — from the stock market to New York State government and beyond. It makes him extremely attractive to his staff and to potential voters because he burns with a palpable desire to reform the world. It also scares the heck out of people who don’t share his views because he won’t be easy to divert or defeat.”

Many crusading prosecutors and attorneys general have a king-of-the-mountain desire to topple the powerful from their thrones. Characteristically, Spitzer’s goes farther. Not only does he crusade against the excesses of big business and big labor, but the settlements he forges with such entities are often drawn to entirely recast the structure and operation of those industries, such as he did in 2003 when his $1.4 billion settlement with 10 investment banks revamped the way the banks provided stock research. In so doing, Spitzer realized that structure is key to operation — that to get an industry to pay a big fine for a transgression is only a temporary solution, that a deficient structure is likely to lead to repeat offenses.

No one can accurately predict the next two or three decades of Spitzer’s career. But it’s almost certain that during it, Spitzer will shake up the world or die trying.

Related Story: Spitzer’s Message

Spitzer’s Message

I’ve often been impressed with the way Elliot Spitzer gets out his message. For example, see his article Capitalism With A Democratic Face. (Also available in the Kerry Reference Library.) Spitzer takes on the sterotype of liberals spread by the right wing as opponents of capitalism, concluding with:

By taking up the mantle of efficient, forward-looking, and market-oriented government action, Democrats can move from being a party that simply opposes Bush’s tainted version of laissez-faire to one that advocates for the progress that comes with real market freedom. It is a powerful argument, a true argument, and it is ours for the making.

Now that he is running for Governor of New York, Spitzer is showing the same skill in getting out the right message. Check out these ads. Really, these are ads which are worth looking at. Kos didn’t believe a political ad firm could have made commercials this good, so he did some digging about who made them:

The ads are written by screenwriter, Madison Avenue maven, and political novice Jimmy Siegel and produced by Moxie Pictures. Siegel worked until recently at the legendary firm BBDO. He put together the Super Bowl Visa ad with Bob Dole and the “Yo, Yao” ads with Yao Ming.

Democrats have wondered how they can counter the right wing noise machine without copying their deceit and hatred. Eliot Spitzer may have found the way.