Early in the unfolding saga of Eliot Spitzer and the call-girl ring, a mention was made of how well Spitzer managed to hide the collapse of his universe during a series of public appearances last weekend. MS-NBC has a chronology of the events that culminated in Spitzer’s resignation, provided a fascinating if somewhat voyeuristic look into the last hours of his governorship. Of course, that may be somewhat fitting in this case:
Eliot Spitzer finally had to tell someone his secret.
It was last Sunday morning, and he had just spent five hours driving through a fierce storm to his family and his Fifth Avenue apartment.
Until then, the law-and-order New York governor had not dropped a hint of the bombshell that was about to force him from office, not a strained word during public appearances Friday in Manhattan or glad-handing the media at a Saturday dinner in Washington.
But shortly after entering his luxurious high-rise building a little after noon, Spitzer faced his wife of two decades, Silda, and he had to tell her:
The “Mr. Clean” ex-prosecutor known for fighting corruption and taking the moral high ground was going to be outed as a client of a $5,500-an-hour prostitution ring.
The story confirms one rumor that floated out early in the scandal — that Spitzer had to be talked out of immediately resigning. After finally revealing the scandal to his family and aides, they convinced him to wait and see whether he could find enough Democrats to keep him in office. Unfortunately, he couldn’t, and by the time he resigned, his wife had stopped asking him to stay in office.
The story plays like a microcosm of Spitzer’s double life before the scandal broke. Even though he knew he was about to be exposed, he pretended nothing at all had changed until almost the last moment. He had managed to fool people for so long about his vices that it almost seems as though he couldn’t give up the charade even while knowing it had ended.