Say this for Eliot Spitzer: Right up until the end the guy could draw a crowd.
A half-hour before the outgoing gov’s scheduled 11:30 am announcement at his midtown offices on Third Avenue, a throng of some 200 reporters and camera people stood on the street, fighting to win entrance to the historic event. A pair of uniformed state troopers—Mountie hats atop their heads—helped a beleagured press aide handle her last— and her biggest—press conference.
For those who made it inside, the governor’s conference room on the 38th floor was overflowing, with more than three dozen TV cameras in the back. Reporters filled every chair and stacked up three across in the aisles. Upfront, by the governor’s podium, several rows of still photographers crouched and clicked.
Spitzer aides lined the walls. Some whispering amongst themselves, others looking forlornly at the crowd.
All talking ceased as Spitzer and his wife Silda strode into the room. The governor stood at the lectern. he took one quick look at the packed room before him, grimaced, and began to read his prepared statement. His wife, a bright gold and orange silk scarf around her neck, gazed confidently at the room and then glanced down at her husband’s papers.
He was mercifully quick with his exit lines. He gave the right apologies, thanked his aides, and—strangely for a governor who managed to squander one of the biggest mandates in recent state history, credited his abbreviated administration with success: “As a public servant, I and the remarkable people with whom I worked, have accomplished a great deal,” he said.
As expected the governor took no questions.
A solitary reporter, a woman unseen to those of us stuck in the back, shouted one out anyway as governor and wife left the room: “Will you leave him, Silda?”