Earlier this month, the NY Times had an article about how Governor Spitzer seemed "defiant and chastened" about the battles he was having with State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. Now, after the Attorney General's office found that Spitzer's aides had been involved in a dirty-tricks attempt to smear Bruno by using State Police records, the NY Times reports the Spitzer is "at a loss for words" and that he will try to rebuild his image.
“This is going to be seen — and I understand it very clearly — it is going to be seen as more than a blemish,” Mr. Spitzer said in the interview, conducted in his Manhattan office. “My feeling is real loss, both substantively and from a perception perspective, about what we’re trying to do. The perception matters, not just because I’m worried about what’s the public perception of me, but because the perception about what we’re doing affects our capacity to do it.
“I’m going to work extraordinarily hard to rebuild that and say to myself, ‘You’re now back at a point where you’ve given away, through a self-inflicted wound, the upside of the capital that you’ve accumulated by doing many good things,’ ” Mr. Spitzer said.
Spitzer also told the Times he did make Bruno out to be an obstacle in the eyes of his staff, but wouldn't say whether he told his aides to go after Bruno by any means possible. The Governor said he will cooperate with the State Ethics Commission investigation into the matter, possibly testifying if subpoenaed. Well, there's nothing like a scandal to tame the Steamroller - though Spitzer really does seem to revel in his bully persona.
Hilariously, Bruno tried to rely on Amtrak, instead of a state helicopter (given that Spitzer's aides were trying to prove that Bruno's use of state choppers were improper, a claim the AG's office cleared Bruno of), only to realize that there are few trains running between Albany and NYC. Bruno, long embattled for his dealings (for instance, companies that have ties to Bruno received hundreds of thousands of dollars in state "member item" grants), says he's not going to rely on state transportation any more.
And many people believe that this incident could help Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's chances when/if he runs for governor. Cuomo, who attempted to run in 2002, is enjoying a 52% job approval rating according to a recent Marist poll. Of course, he's only seven months into the AG job. Spitzer's approval was 47%, while Bruno's was 26% (with 25% undecided; Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver had similar ratings as Bruno).