Question: Given your criticisms of his appointed Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, do you regret choosing David Paterson as your lieutenant governor?
Eliot Spitzer: Well look, it wasn’t – No. The short answer is no. I don’t regret asking David to be Lieutenant Governor when I ran. I think David has been thrust into a very difficult environment. If you look at John Corzine in New Jersey, who was a remarkably talented, capable individual; he was voted out of office. He tried to do many things that were wise. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a different side of the political aisle. His approval rating is down in the 30’s. Ted Strickland in Ohio, Deval Patrick in Massachusetts – being a governor right now is a very difficult job. Revenues are way down. People still want to get their education funding. They’re still wanting Medicaid and healthcare to be funded. And when you have shrinking revenues, it’s just a very difficult environment to survive politically. So, David has been struggling with that and I think the budgetary proposals he has put forth is quite wise, but unpopular. And that’s the nature of being a Governor at certain points in time. Do I disagree with his choice of Kirsten Gillibrand? Yes. She has unfortunately shown that she is more a careerist than politician dedicated to standing up for a principle on issues of immigration rights, on issues of gun control, on issues relating to some core principles that I believe in. But we’ll see. She is the Senator, and we’ll see what happens.
Recorded January 21, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen