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Spitzer Has Little Support in Albany


We go now to New York capital, Albany. There the Democratic governor is finding only tepid support, even among Spitzer's allies within the state's political establishment. NPR's Mike Pesca reports.

MIKE PESCA: Two mornings ago the Emperor's Club was an obscure movie starring Kevin Kline and the most exciting thing going on in Albany was a basketball tournament being held at the local arena. The Sienna Saints earned a spot on the March Madness brackets, and the citizens of Albany soon found out that their governor had engaged in some un-saintly behavior.

It turns out that a college basketball analogy may be just the thing to describe Eliot Spitzer's situation. Like a team waiting to see if they get to participate in the postseason, Eliot Spitzer is on the bubble.

It seems so unfathomable, thinking back to the rhetoric of his inaugural address.

(Soundbite of audio)

Governor ELIOT SPITZER (Democrat, New York): Every policy, every action, every decision we make in this administration will further two overarching objectives: we must transform our government so that it is as ethical and wise as all of New York and we must rebuild our economy.

PESCA: Some Democratic officials have called for Spitzer's resignation, and it is difficult for him to find anything other than tepid support within his own party.

His opponents, like Republican Assemblyman James Tedisco, are more full-throated.

Assemblyman JAMES TEDISCO (Republican, New York): We've got to get to work. We've got to forget about this distraction. One man does not make a democracy.

PESCA: If Spitzer won't resign, Tedesco is threatening impeachment. Yes, impeachment as laid out by the framers of the New York State constitution in Articles 32 through 34.

Here's actor Ted Zellner(ph), who performs with the Capital Repertory Theater, breathing life into the 18th century document.

Mr. TED ZELLNER (Actor): And this convention doth further in the name and by the authority of the good people of this state, ordain, determine and declare that a court shall be instituted for the trial of impeachments.

PESCA: Among legislators, the most popular phrase in talking about impeachment is: I don't think it will come to that. The very threat, however, could be a tactic which lights a fire under the governor.

And even Spitzer's supporters do crave an answer, any answer, so the capital doesn't become crippled. Carrie Deo(ph) is an 18-year-old who is visiting the state capital from Bethlehem, New York as part of a church group. She was a fan of Spitzer's, but now thinks he should go.

Ms. CARRIE DEO: I feel like there's always something going on. Like, I remember a year or two ago something happened with the controller. And I feel like there's something always like this happening that sets the government back from what they need to be doing.

PESCA: Albany seems aligned against the governor. Perhaps he has only one constituency left. I spoke with the owner of an Albany escort business listed in the yellow pages as offering no illegal services, just sensual companionship.

The proprietor, who preferred not to use her name, wrote a poem explaining why a man would seek the company of an escort.

Unidentified Woman: It's just a business. His heart is true. At the end of the day he'll be with you. So when he comes home, no need to fight. Just get in bed and say goodnight.

PESCA: But even she did have a problem with Eliot Spitzer's $80,000 D.C. dalliances.

Unidentified Woman: You know, they're always talking about, you know, losing business in New York, having business go to other states. Seems like he would've kept the business in New York somewhere.

PESCA: These past few days have shown that Eliot Spitzer has few friends in Albany, not even the kind you pay for.

Mike Pesca, NPR News, Albany, New York.

MONTAGNE: And there's more coverage of Governor Spitzer at, including a look at the colorful history of the federal law that he might be charged under. Also, there's a photo gallery showing political wives standing by their men caught in scandals. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.