Critiquing the Critics: Spitzer Speaks Out

From inauguration to resignation, Eliot Spitzer was one of the most talked-about governors in the country. Two years after his scandal, he sifts the legitimate criticism from the unfair shots and false rumors.
  • Transcript


Question: Was anything said about you when you resigned that you found untrue or unfair?

Eliot Spitzer: Oh, I’m not sure if I worry about unfairness. I think that the critique that I bridle at, and have, and this is not related to what led me to resign; is the critique of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and others who from the very outset said, “He (Spitzer) doesn’t appreciate or understand the market, or creation of wealth, or jobs, or capitalism.” To which my response has always been, and it was harder to say at the beginning, and now after the cataclysm I think it’s a bit easier to say, “No, we are the ones that understand the market, and the necessity of rules and enforcement in order to permit the creation of wealth and risk taking that actually make sense.” Those who dislike me, and as I say, some people dislike me for legitimate reasons. When you’ve been on opposite sides of litigations like this, it would be foolish to believe they wouldn’t have some sense of dislike for me. That’s human nature. And so, some folks dislike me for the wrong reason, which is they think I don’t understand markets. Some dislike me for the right reason, which is when you’ve been in a situation like this; you’re not going to have warm and fuzzy feelings about the person who was the prosecutor. So, I think that’s the critique that we didn’t understand markets always bothered me because I was persuaded that we did. We understand markets, we understand progressive politics, we understand how wealth is created for more and more people. So, I guess the critique of me in other ways, I just try to look within and say, “Okay, I hope I learn something as well.”

Question: Do you mean that critiques of your policy bother you more than critiques of your private life?

Eliot Spitzer: Well, the critiques of my private life, to the extent that they are legitimate and justified, you got to just accept that and move on. You can’t try to deny reality sometimes. That’s part of maturing and growing up, and none of us is without flaws. Mine are very evident to the world. Very little in my life has ever been private.

Question: Was it true about the socks?

Eliot Spitzer: No.

Recorded January 21, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen