A distraction?

John Nichols:


The first question this morning is the hardest one: Will Spitzer, one of Clinton's highest profile backers and the man who was going to lead the New York delegation at this summer's Democratic National Convention, quit politics?

The Governor's not saying. But the calls for a quit are already being voiced. New York State Assembly Republican leader James Tedisco declared that "[Spitzer] has disgraced his office and the entire state of New York. He should resign his office immediately."

If Spitzer quits -- and the betting is that, as details of the scandal come out, he will -- the governorship will go to his able lieutenant governor, David A. Paterson.

Paterson, also a Democrat and also a Democratic National Convention super-delegate, has always been a good deal more enthusiastic about the Clinton campaign than Spitzer.

Despite the fact that Clinton is the senator from New York state, Spitzer did not endorse her until after Clinton was forced to make a high profile visit to ask the Governor for his support. Even when it came, Spitzer -- whose own ambitions to be attorney general, vice president or even president were no secret -- did not campaign all that hard for Clinton.

While Spitzer spent time at the Mayflower, Paterson slogged through Iowa and other key states on Clinton's behalf.

After the endorsement was secured, Spitzer first became a problem for Clinton when she struggled to defend and then distance herself from his proposal to make it easier for immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses.

He is a much bigger problem now.

It's not that Clinton is tied in any way to the governor's troubles.

Rather, he is a distraction--the big player in her adopted home state who is now in big, big trouble.

The Clinton campaign immediately began sponging Spitzer's name from the Senator's campaign website--just as Idaho Senator Larry Craig's name disappeared from the website of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney after Craig's bathroom troubles in Minneapolis.

Clinton's still taking advantage of support from other key backers who've been wrapped up in personal scandals, such as San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who has publicly apologized for having a relationship with the wife of a top political aide, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who broke up with his wife after conducting affair with a local television news anchor.)

But the Spitzer scandal is higher profile, and higher stakes stuff,

The Spitzer trip up is a made-for-TV -- and really made-for-The New York Post -- scandal. The media won't let go of this one, and sooner or later Tim Russert and Chris Matthews are going to be obsessed with everything Hillary Clinton has to say about it.


It is nice of Nicholls to remind us of all the Democrats who manage to not have to pay rent for their extra curricular sex. For some it is cheaper to rent for others it just looks cheap. I think somehow the NY delegation will make it to Denver and it will vote for Hillary more than likely. It would not surprise me if there is some rental sex consummated at that convention. There usually is according to media reports.


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