Stephen Colbert put the screws, as it were, to Eliot Spitzer on The Colbert Report last night.
Spitzer, the disgraced former New York governor, a.k.a. Client No. 9, resigned in 2008 after news broke that he had paid for sex with prostitutes. He now has his eye on a political comeback in running for the office of New York comptroller in the Democrat primary.
Since leaving the governorship after about one year in office, Spitzer among other things has hosted two failed political TV talks shows, one on CNN that was cancelled in July 2011, and another on Current TV that ended when Al Gore sold the network to Al Jazeera.
In addition to making the rounds of various cable TV shows as part of his comeback tour, Spitzer is also flogging a political book that virtually no one will ever read.
After inquiring of the disgraced former governor what a comptroller does, Colbert mockingly asked…
Shouldn’t the job of comptroller go to someone who has shown a modicum of self-comptrol?
Colbert may have taken the “self comptrol” pun from the Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto who tweeted the joke on July 7.
The city’s comptroller oversees the budget and monitors other financial matters.
The Comedy Central host (see embed above) also alluded to Spitzer’s “fall from grace, or whoever her name was… You were the governor of the state! Aren’t you at one and the same time above and below this job?”
Since Spitzer is leading in the primary over Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer according to the polls, Colbert asked “Do you think that it seems that voters are more forgiving than they used to be? Do you think that signals progress for our country, or the slow decay of our moral values?”
All Spitzer could say in response was “wow!”
In passing, Colbert mentioned the successful political redemption of Mark Sanford who defeated Colbert’s sister for a House seat in a South Carolina special election.
In a more serious interview, CNN‘s Jake Tapper grilled the former governor yesterday on several issues. Tapper pointed out that as governor, Spitzer made paying for sex a more serious felony and referred to prostitution as modern day slavery. The CNN anchor then asked Spitzer why he never wound up in jail under his own law, unlike Kristen Davis — the madam who allegedly supplied Spitzer with hookers — who served four months in the Riker’s Island prison. Davis is also running for comptroller, ironically enough, as a libertarian.
Said Tapper: “When you went after Wall Street titans, you painted yourself as fighting for the little guy. But I think a lot of people might look at you and think, look, you’re somebody with money, you’re somebody with power and this is a perfect example of how people like you don’t end up doing the time the way that the average person does.”
Spitzer responded that he resigned the governorship five years ago because of his transgressions, and the authorities made the determination not to bring charges against him.
Watch the Jake Tapper-Elliot Spitzer interview below:
Spitzer will be running in the same September primary as another would-be sex scandal survivor, Anthony Weiner, who aspires to become mayor of the Big Apple.