New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s acknowledged encounters with a prostitution ring probably hurt Hillary Clinton and help Barack Obama.
This will remind some folks of the distractions and costs associated with Bill Clinton’s philandering with Monica Lewinsky and may compel others to wonder if Bill really has behaved all of these years since. It’s not that Bill Clinton is playing around that matters to most folks, it’s both the costs of distraction and the question of how Hillary Clinton manages it.
I wonder some times if Hillary Clinton would have been better off divorcing her former president husband before her own presidential bid. I don’t really want to go further than that; the content of their relationship is their own business. But, at a practical level, Hillary has been dragged down by Bill Clinton in this race more than buoyed by him.
It’s a bit weird to have been on the movie set of State of Play yesterday with Robin Wright Penn speaking to a mob of reporters about the affair that her husband, a Congressman played by Ben Affleck, had been engaged in. She said something along the lines that she wouldn’t allow their relationship to be marked by this single incident — that they were about much more. . .and that the media should be focused on other, bigger things.
Today, Spitzer made a statement that sounded a lot like what Affleck would have said — and that Robin Wright Penn would have responded to:
“For the past nine years, eight years as attorney general, and one as governor, I have tried to uphold a vision of progressive politics that would rebuild New York and create opportunity for all. We sought to bring real change to New York and that will continue.
“Today I want to briefly address a private matter. I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.
“I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good, and doing what is best for the state of New York. But 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 will not be taking questions. Thank you very much. I will report back to you in short order. Thank you very much.”
— Steve Clemons