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Spitzer Sex Scandal; Mississippi Votes Today
Aired March 11, 2008 - 10:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning again, everyone. You're with CNN. You're informed.
I'm Tony Harris.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
Developments keep coming into the CNN NEWSROOM on Tuesday, March 11th. Here's what's on the rundown.
New York's governor linked to a pricey call girl operation. Will sexual indiscretion cost "Mr. Clean" his professional career? Our guest, a Harvard law professor.
HARRIS: Stocks surging almost 300 points in early trading. Gloomy investors finally seeing a ray of sunshine.
COLLINS: Mississippi voters having their say at the polls right now. Obama and Clinton, the dual down South -- in the NEWSROOM.
It's an old saying in politics, a halo only has to slip a few inches to become a noose. Today, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is facing calls to resign. The former prosecutor once dubbed "Mr. Clean" now linked to a prostitution ring.
CNN's senior correspondent, Allan Chernoff, has the very latest now in New York.
So, Allan, what are you hearing at this hour?
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: Heidi, many of those calls to resign coming from the New York newspaper. All three tabloids in New York calling for the resignation.
"The New York Post" saying, "New York's Naked Emperor Must Step Down." "The Daily News": "Pay for Love Gov" on the front page. And inside, have a look at this, "Hit the Road, John." Three words to the man -- "Just get out."
And here, "Newsday" as well, "Eliot & the Call Girl." Inside also, calling for the governor to step down.
The calls for resignation also coming from Republicans in state government. The Republicans, they are just grabbing on to this political football and they are not letting go. They are going to run with it. The head of the minority in the assembly -- of the Republican minority in the assembly is saying that he are will call, he will introduce articles of impeachment if the governor does not step down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES TEDISCO, NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MINORITY LEADER: This is very, very disappointing, very saddening. And there's no question in my mind, he has compromised his ability to lead, to be our titular leader, to be the governor of this state. And I have asked for his resignation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHERNOFF: Now, the assembly in New York State is overwhelmingly Democratic. Indeed, 108 Democrats to 42 Republicans. For an article of impeachment to actually get approved, it needs majority approval. That means about one-third of the Democrats in the assembly would actually have to vote against the Democratic governor.
It remains to be seen whether or not that can actually happen. But clearly, the governor is under tremendous, tremendous pressure to step down. Yesterday, when he did speak very briefly before the media, he gave no indication that he actually would resign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ELIOT SPITZER (D), NEW YORK: I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good, and doing what is best for the state of New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHERNOFF: It is very difficult to overstate just how dramatic a fall this is. Of course, we've all heard about sex scandals involving politicians, but frankly, I cannot think of any case where a politician has based his entire career, everything, on his ethics, on his propriety, on his ability to fight corruption and, indeed, even as attorney general, Governor Eliot Spitzer had fought prostitution rings. Now he finds himself caught in one -- Heidi.
COLLINS: Wow. We are watching things very closely, as they could change any minute now. Allan, if that happens, we will come back to you of course.
Allan Chernoff on the streets of New York City there.
HARRIS: Well, to understand Eliot Spitzer's apparent fall, you have to know how tall he stood on New York's political stage. Spitzer was elected governor in 2006 with an historic margin of victory. Part of his appeal to voters, he vowed to root out corruption in New York government, as you just heard from Allan Chernoff.
As state attorney general, he challenged big business from the insurance industry to Wall Street. In fact, "TIME" magazine once named him "Crusader of the Year."
So what happens if Spitzer resigns? The spotlight turns to David Paterson, the state's lieutenant governor. Paterson would automatically become governor if Spitzer quits.
If that happens, he would become New York's first African- American governor. Paterson is a 53-year-old Democrat from Harlem. He is mostly blind, and he is considered well respected by both Democrats and Republicans.
The Eliot Spitzer sex scandal -- our next guest is a legal expert. He says it is much ado about nothing. Will prosecutors agree? That's ahead.
(STOCK MARKET REPORT)
HARRIS: Mississippi, the Democrats' last stop before the Pennsylvania primary. At stake today, 33 delegates.
CNN's Sean Callebs is right outside of Jackson in the town of Terry.
Sean, good to see you.
Turnout, Sean, has it been a busy morning at your particular polling location?
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'll try to explain. It's been light to moderate here so far. But a big reason, the fact that great interest in the Democratic race.
We've been talking with Kay (ph) down there on the end. Virginia (ph), in the middle, has been a precinct president -- 36 years? Thirty six years.
And Alzina (ph), 93 years young. That's my Willard Scott impersonation. She's been doing this as well.
They tell us they get about 100 people an hour here on the average. This is the Democratic side. This is kind of a rarity. Only about 10 to 20 percent of the folks have been coming in -- have been registered Republican. You know, Mississippi may not be known as the most progressive state, but with its 33 delegates at stake, it certainly is an important time in the spotlight, a chance for the voters here to show that it's not about race or gender to them, but rather the issues.
CALLEBS (voice over): As Mississippi voters digest promises and pledges from the Democratic hopefuls, many here hope to take this moment in the national spotlight to alter some long-held stereotypes about the state.
MARTY WISEMAN, MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY: We're seeing a contest where I think you're going to see a huge turnout of voters voting either for a woman or an African-American. And, you know, that gives us a chance to make a statement.
CALLEBS: Former governor Ray Mabus among the leading surrogates here backing Barack Obama. Images of a strictly-segregated Deep South still haunt Mississippi, but Mabus says the state has changed and is more progressive. He expects this fall some staunch Republicans may be ready for a change.
RAY MABUS (D), FMR. MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR: I think white men like everybody else have become pretty cynical about what's happened in Washington and what hasn't happened in Washington, and how toxic it's gotten and how partisan it's gotten.
CALLEBS: In a state where nearly 70 percent of registered Democrats are African-American, Hillary Clinton is conceding nothing. She spent two days campaigning here, while former president Bill Clinton visited four cities over weekend. The last time Mississippi supported a Democratic candidate in the general election was 1976, Jimmy Carter. If Democrats carry the state this fall, political observers say it's issues that will sway the voters.
WISEMAN: I think folks are discovering the fact that race is now not the key reason why people will or will not vote for somebody.
CALLEBS: And Democrats say they hope to tap into what are called the blue collar Republicans down here, the working class within the state. People who may have voted for the GOP the past generation, but now with a souring economy and an unpopular war, Tony, may be looking to make a statement.
Also, folks in Mississippi, Tony, wanted me to pass on something from our last discussion. We talked about going all over the country and listening to the accents. Here they say it's you that has the accent, not the people here in this state.
HARRIS: That is so choice. All right, Sean. Great to see you. Thanks.
And again, we invite you to stay with CNN for unmatched political coverage throughout the day. We have much more on the candidates and what happens next. Join us for the CNN "Ballot Bowl." That is today, noon Eastern.
And if you are a political junkie, CNNPolitics.com is the place for you. Check out our new interactive delegate counter game where you can play real-time "what if" scenarios with delegates, superdelegates. Just look for the delegate calculator.
That and much more at CNNPolitics.com.
HARRIS: The Eliot Spitzer sex scandal -- our next guest is a legal expert. He says it is much ado about nothing. Will prosecutors agree? Alan Dershowitz is in the CNN NEWSROOM. That is next.
HARRIS: The sex scandal that's engulfed New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, is the line blurring between politics and the law? Our next guest says most definitely.
Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard University. Eliot Spitzer once served as his research assistant at the school.
Alan Dershowitz, thanks for your time this morning.
HARRIS: Let's see if we can just sort of take a moment here, exhale, and have a discussion about this. I want to start -- and you will understand why in a moment -- with a bit of the editorial from today's "New York Time."
It reads in part, "He" -- Eliot Spitzer -- "did not just betray his family in a private matter, he betrayed the public, and it is hard to see how he will recover from this mess and go on to lead the reformist agenda on which he was elected."
Now, I bring this to you because you know, because you were there, you said it last night on "AC 360," that the governor should fight this.
DERSHOWITZ: Of course.
HARRIS: OK. Tell me why.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, first of all, these are ridiculous prostitution statutes, a throwback to the time when, you know, adultery was a crime, masturbation, homosexuality. All these moral crimes 20 years from now people will laugh at that "New York Times" editorial, because prostitution won't be a crime anymore in the United States, the way it's not in most parts of Europe.
This is private sexual misconduct. And we know from history, from Jefferson, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, from Bill Clinton, from John Kennedy, from Lyndon Johnson, that people can govern well during the day while acting as children and adolescents in the evening. This is just so overblown.
HARRIS: Well, but Professor, isn't it -- the law may be changed at some point, but the law is the law right now. And...
DERSHOWITZ: Yes, but millions of men go to prostitutes every year. Look at the back pages of "New York" magazine, "The Village Voice." Leading newspapers all over the country have ads for massage parlors...
DERSHOWITZ: ... which are fancy brothels. This is done all the time. Half the people who are posturing about this are do it themselves. And it's hypocrisy. It's ridiculous.
HARRIS: Should it be -- I totally get that it's done all the time, but should it be done by this man who's picture we're seeing now in the video? Should it be done by the governor of the great state of New York?
DERSHOWITZ: Of course it shouldn't be done, and the question is, the voters should have a right to take that into account. Also his hypocrisy in having prosecuted a prostitution ring. That's all for the voters to take into account the next time he runs.
DERSHOWITZ: But after all, President Clinton was impeached and yet he served, and he serve with distinction until the end of his term. Governor Spitzer, who was elected overwhelmingly, should serve, should fight this, and let the public judge after his four years in office. And if he's committed a minor misdemeanor, let him be charged with a minor misdemeanor.
HARRIS: What about personal -- what about personal integrity in this matter? I mean, you know the question that's coming. I won't even phrase it. I mean, this was a man who prided himself on ethics, his priority, his ability to fight corruption. And the appearance here is awful.
DERSHOWITZ: It is awful. And people should take that into account in judging him.
But remember that the corruption he fought was mostly corruption with victims, people who were corrupting Wall Street, people who were committing violent crimes, organized crime. This is the personification of a victimless crime -- a 30-something-year-old prostitute making $5,000 an hour. That is not a victim. There are no victims here except Eliot's family, his children, his wife, and the people close to him.
HARRIS: Are you concerned at all that there might be more to come? There are suggestions out there that federal prosecutors are opening the books here and looking at the possibility that there might be some kind of infraction here concerning that might bring money laundering into the picture.
Would your view change then?
DERSHOWITZ: Yes -- no, it would not. Money laundering is a statue designed to get organized crime. If he, in fact, went to the bank and took out few dollars to pay for a prostitute, it's a misuse of the money laundering statutes.
What I'm concerned about is you have statutes like this broadly written, money laundering, prostitution. They're never used against ordinary people. But you can get a Republican prosecuted or go after a Democratic governor to force him to resign the same way we had it with President Clinton and the same way, by the way, with Senator Larry Craig.
I'm no Republican, but I am completely on Larry Craig's side. I don't think it was the business of the police at the airport to go after Larry Craig and to probe what he does in a bathroom stall. We've got to get out of the bathrooms and bedrooms of American public figures and judge them by their public performance.
HARRIS: You see the appearances here. I'm wondering -- you like this man.
DERSHOWITZ: I do.
HARRIS: You like this man. And that's why you are launching this kind of...
DERSHOWITZ: I don't like Larry Craig. I don't like Larry Craig.
HARRIS: But -- all right.
DERSHOWITZ: I don't like a lot of the Republicans who got caught up in these kinds of scandals.
HARRIS: But you know where I'm going. You like this man. And I'm wondering if your view of this is in any way shaped by the fact that you like him personally.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, I know him. And I know that he's a man of great intelligence and generally of great public integrity.
Yes, so I'm influenced by my knowledge of him. But as I said, I would make the same argument for Larry Craig. I would make the same argument for any Republican caught doing something that didn't involve victims. I think we have to get out of this business of destroying public careers on the basis of their private sexual misconduct.
HARRIS: Alan Dershowitz, good to see you. Thanks for your time.
DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.
HARRIS: And still to come, if your mom and dad have Alzheimer's, will you get it too? New information from Dr. Sanjay Gupta, that's next in the NEWSROOM.
COLLINS: Your Alzheimer's risk. A new study this morning finds you are more likely to get the disease if both your mom and dad suffer from it.
Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, talked about it earlier this morning. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We've come to learn that Alzheimer's does probably have a genetic component to it. And what researchers wanted to find out, if you were -- if you had this situation where both your parents had Alzheimer's, how likely were you to get it? So, obviously it's a bad situation to start with.
GUPTA: And people start asking themselves, how likely am I to get it?
The study looked at about 111 families, and they found that if both your parents had it after age 60 or so, about 30 percent of the children, the offspring in this case, developed Alzheimer's. After age 70, the numbers went up to about 42 percent.
If there was another relative, first-degree relative that also had Alzheimer's, your likelihood of developing it didn't go up, but the likelihood of developing it earlier went up. So you might develop some dementia symptoms earlier in life.
As you know, Heidi, a lot of people know, Alzheimer's is this sort of progressive neurodegenerative problem. You develop these plaques that sort of deposit themselves into the brain. They start to cause memory problems, cognition problems.
It is one of the fastest-growing diseases now in America. It doubles every five years beyond the age of 65 now, the number of people with Alzheimer's.
COLLINS: Does it really? I didn't know that.
Can you quantify your risk though? I mean, if you know that your mom or dad obviously have it...
COLLINS: ... and you're dealing with it, what can you do?
GUPTA: You know, I think -- I think it's hard to quantify risk right now. This is still a relatively small study, and I think it's an important thing to say that, look, if your parents both had it, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're doomed to have it as well. I think that's an important point.
GUPTA: We don't know exactly what triggers it and why some people develop it even though they have a genetic predisposition to it, or genetic likelihood of developing it. So it's hard to say that.
COLLINS: As you well know, there is no cure for Alzheimer's. But there are a couple of things you can do to help keep your mind sharp. Doctors recommend crossword puzzles and exercise three times a week.
To get your "Daily Dose" of health news online, log on to our Web site. You'll find the latest medical news, a health library, and information on diet and fitness. That address, CNN.com/health.
HARRIS: Public figures, private indiscretions. Eliot Spitzer the latest name in a hall of shame.
HARRIS: Just past the half hour. Welcome back, everyone, good to see you in the newsroom. I'm Tony Harris.
COLLINS: Hi, everybody. I'm Heidi Collins.
A big day in the deep south. The region's first presidential primary if more than a month. Voters are heading to the polls right now in Mississippi. 33 delegates, Democratic delegates, that is, are at stake there. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both campaigned in Mississippi in recent days.
It is their final face-off before the Pennsylvania primary in six weeks. CNN election center special coverage of the Mississippi primary begins at 8:00 eastern tonight.
Senator John McCain is picking up cash and talking the economy in Missouri. McCain fielded questions this morning at a town hall meeting with tech workers in the St. Louis area. He touted the new stimulus package.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This stimulus package and these checks that are coming in will have some affect on the economy and allow the consumer to spend. I think one fundamental principle is when the consumer spends it's good for the economy. When the government spends, which has been completely out of control, it's bad for the economy because it's your money. It's not their money. It's your money.
COLLINS: Speaking of money, McCain raised some at a $1,000 a head fund-raiser in the St. Louis area last night.
Stay with CNN for unmatched political coverage throughout the day. We have more on the candidates and what happens next. You can join us for CNN BALLOT BOWL today at noon eastern.
HARRIS: With the Mississippi primary today, Hurricane Katrina still on the minds of those who lived through the disaster. The CNN special investigations unit coming out with an exclusive report today about Katrina aid. You can see it in the 3:00 hour of NEWSROOM PM. Correspondent Abbie Boudreau is here with a preview of her report. Abbie, good to see you. All right, what are you learning?
ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To this day thousands of people are still living in FEMA trailers that are infested with rodents, covered in mold, living conditions that are absolutely horrible. Of course, the people we talked to say they are desperate to get out and find a better home, but they're stuck and say they have no place to go.
Some of the money, actually millions of dollars that was supposed to be used to build new homes, is now being redirected to the Port of Gulfport where casinos could eventually be built. Community groups are outraged saying that money was the last hope for victims of Katrina who are looking to the government for help. We'll have more on this story later today.
HARRIS: Just a quick question, Abbie. How are local officials responding to this?
BOUDREAU: Well, it depends who you ask. Some city council members are upset and they think the money should go toward rebuilding homes. Others, including the mayor of Biloxi, actually supports the idea of the money being redirected. The mayor even told me he thinks many of the people living in the FEMA trailers do not want to leave. It's a very controversial issue.
HARRIS: Well, of course. Abbie, more of your reporting NEWSROOM PM at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time.
BOUDREAU: 3 p.m.
HARRIS: OK. All right, Abbie, appreciate it. Thank you.
COLLINS: New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, he's facing calls to resign in a sex scandal and possible criminal charges in a courtroom. A breathtaking collapse for a man considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. We're just getting word of some of the first comments from President Bush as well. We'll give you those in just a moment. CNN's Jason Carroll in the meantime has these details.
GOV. ELIOT SPITZER (D), NEW YORK: I will support the constitution of the United States.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was one of his proudest moments, January 2007, Eliot Spitzer stood with his wife at his side as he was sworn in as New York's 54th governor. A little more than a year later Spitzer's wife, Silda was at his side again for the most shameful moment of Spitzer's political career.
SPITZER: I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family, and that violates my or any sense of right and wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public whom I promised better.
CARROLL: Spitzer read a prepared statement answering, no questions about all investigations he was involved in a prostitution ring.
SPITZER: I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.
CARROLL: The affidavit alleges the prostitution ring operated under the name of Emperors Club VIP, a source with knowledge of the investigation says Spitzer is called client number nine in the court document. The document states client number nine arranged for a prostitute named Kristen to travel from New York City to Washington, D.C.
Client nine said he would pay for everything, train tickets, cab fare from the hotel and back, mini bar or room service, travel time and hotel. When asked about payment, client nine said, yep, same as in the past. No question about it. According to a source with knowledge of the investigation, the two met at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.
And when client nine wanted a reminder of what Kristen looked like he was told she was American, petite, very pretty brunette, 5'5 inches and 105 pounds. That encounter took about two hours on February 13th, the day before Valentine's Day.
When her co-worker asked if client nine, quote, would ask you to do things that you may not think were safe, Kristen replied, I have a way with dealing with that. I'd be like, listen, dude, you really want the sex? The investigation is based on electronic communication, e-mails and bank records. Spitzer has not been charged.
It's a devastating blow to a man who built a career on bringing ethics back to politics and busting prostitution rings. As two-term attorney general he was known as sheriff of Wall Street for his tough stand on corporate crime. He was also called Mr. Clean and promised in his campaign ad to bring passion back to the state. Instead, he has brought shame. Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
COLLINS: Quickly as we said we are just getting some word on the reaction of President Bush to this news of Governor Eliot Spitzer. According to our Elaine Quijano, our White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, said that when the president heard about Eliot Spitzer, he said it was a, quote, "sad situation." We will continue to follow this story, of course, right here on CNN.
HARRIS: Well, Governor Spitzer certainly not the first public figure to fall from grace. CNN's Erica Hill takes a look.
GOV. ELIOT SPITZER (D), NEW YORK: I want to briefly address a private matter.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's too early to tell if Eliot Spitzer's political career, one he spent years building, is over. What we do know is we have seen this before.
LARRY CRAIG, FORMER IDAHO SENATOR: Please let me apologize.
HILL: Idaho Senator Larry Craig was a champion of family values until he was arrested for alleged lewd conduct in the public bathroom.
CRAIG: Did I slide them too close to yours? Did I -- I look down once, your foot was close to mine.
HILL: Craig who insists he's innocent pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct just another public figure to fall from grace. It happened in all levels of government. People of honor, men of power, allegedly exposed.
GARY HART, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:I do not have to answer that question.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.
HILL: That's former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who was caught smoking crack, never mind the fact they should all know better. Why do they think they can get away with it? And it's the hypocrisy that's often the most disturbing. Remember Mark Foley?
The former Congressman made a name for himself working to protect kids and teens from sexual predators online, only to step down after suggestive text messages he sent to a former teenage page were published. But it's not just politicians who find trouble.
JIMMY SWAGGART, TELEVANGELIST: I have sinned against you, my lord.
HILL: The Reverend Jimmy Swaggart preached morality, so did Jim Bakker, while one was committing adultery, while the other seeing a prostitute. The most recent scandal from the pulpit, the Reverend Ted Haggard.
TED HAGGARD, EVANGELIST: I called him to buy some meth.
HILL: When the leader of one of the largest evangelical churches in the country said he was guilty of sexual immorality, and admitted to buying drugs and getting a massage from a male escort, no one was laughing. Especially not at home.
JIM MCGREEVY, FMR. NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Shamefully I engaged in adult, consensual affair with another man.
HILL: With his wife at his side, former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey told the world a secret he kept from her.
MCGREEVY: It was foolish. It was inexcusable. And for this, I ask forgiveness.
HILL: Forgiveness many have asked for. On Monday, it was Spitzer's turn. SPITZER: I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.
HILL: And that is the trust that may be the most difficult, and the most important to win back.
Erica Hill, CNN, New York.
COLLINS: This morning, police say a man has confessed to killing that Auburn University freshman Lauren Burk, 23-year-old Courtney Lockhart charged with capital murder. According to a confession read in court yesterday, Lockhart told police he abducted Burk from the school campus, robbed her, forced her to take her clothes off and then shot her. Burk died at the hospital.
Police arrested Lockhart a couple of days later in Phenix City, Alabama and they think he may be connected to a string of other crimes, like this one in Georgia. This video is from Friday. Police tell affiliate WSB the man seen her is Lockhart, trying to kidnap an elderly woman in a strip mall parking lot. The woman got away. Police tracked Lockhart down and arrested him. Police say inside his car was a pistol linked to Burk's murder.
In North Carolina, police have released new photos of a man suspected of killing Eve Carson. She's the UNC student body president. These shots are from a surveillance camera inside a Chapel Hill convenience store. Police say that man tried to use Carson's ATM card. Police think that's the same person seen in these ATM surveillance photos. Investigators are also looking into whether a second person may be involved in Carson's murder. They say they now believe another man is sitting in the backseat of this car.
Well, it'll make you cringe. A runaway tire going 65 miles an hour on the freeway. What would you do?
HARRIS: Want to show you something pretty frightening and pretty amazing here, a runaway tire. Look at this, just careening off this semi truck. You don't really see the truck -- there it is. Wow -- into oncoming traffic. It's not the first time something like this has happened, but it's not every day that you see it captured on camera.
Man, the driver of the minivan is OK. And state troopers say he did the right thing. They say the worst thing you can do in this situation is steer your car out of the way.
To business news now. The news about Governor Spitzer's connection to a prostitution outfit was cheered by many on Wall Street. The New York governor cracked down on some financial markets when he was attorney general.
Susan Lisovicz is at the New York Stock Exchange with details on this. Susan, I see you have a guest. Good morning.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Tony.
Well, he was once called the sheriff of Wall Street. Now, Eliot Spitzer may be better known as Client Number Nine. And it is fair to say that his downfall was cheered on Wall Street.
Standing next to me, a trader for nearly 40 years at the New York Stock Exchange. Teddy Weisberg (ph), there has not been a more unpopular attorney general. Now, big business and attorney general don't typically get along. But this was much more than that. It was downright hostile.
TEDDY WEISBERG, PRESIDENT, SEAPORT SECURITIES: Well, I think so, and I think you know, first of all, of course, it's very sad for his family and his kids and his wife. But the fact is when he was an attorney general, he seemed to personalize his prosecutorial duties when he was chasing companies.
Now, we don't know all the facts, you know, who was right, who he was wrong. But you know, he seemed to bludgeon people, he seemed to threaten them publicly. And so, it seemed to go far beyond just prosecuting somebody for doing something wrong, which might have been well justified, but.
LISOVICZ: But you know, Teddy, I mean, a lot -- let's face it, a lot of the things he was investigating were fair game, accounting irregularities, excessive pay, conflicts of interests. So, you're saying it was the manner of investigation as opposed to the subjects themselves?
WEISBERG: I would say it was probably more the methodology than it was the subject matter. And you know, that tends to -- people don't forget that. And whether you were directly or indirectly effected by it, and everybody on Wall Street was either directly or indirectly effected by it, especially this institution in traders down here. I would say that I don't think that they are reveling in somebody else's misfortune, but there weren't too many tears shed.
LISOVICZ: What goes around comes around. Teddy Weisberg of Seaport Securities, thank you very much.
Two little notes that I just want to mention. Teddy mentioned he's very well-known at the NYSE because there is a suit that he brought that is still pending against the former chairman and CEO, Dick Grasso. I spoke to his wife yesterday who says the shoe is on the other foot. That's what she told me yesterday.
And there was a blistering piece in the "Wall Street Journal," the editorial which said, this isn't merely some rough and tumble. These were threats, some rhetorical, some acted upon by one man with virtually unchecked legal powers. Yes ...
LISOVICZ: ...Eliot Spitzer, not a very popular figure, today especially.
Back to you, Tony.
HARRIS: Yes, great that you were able to get Teddy's point of view on that for us. Susan, appreciate it. Thank you.
LISOVICZ: You're welcome.
COLLINS: New York's minority leader in the State Assembly, James Tedisco says Governor Eliot Spitzer has 24 hours to resign or he has another idea for him. We're going to talk to him live coming up in just a moment.
COLLINS: New York Governor Eliot Spitzer this hour, he's facing calls to resign or face impeachment. The person leading that challenge, Republican James Tedisco, he is the minority leader of the State Assembly and is joining us now from Albany to explain.
So, what's the deal? As I looked at this wire that crossed at 10:17 this morning or so, are you saying that the governor needs to resign before 10:00 tomorrow morning or you're going to start to file papers to impeach him?
JAMES TEDISCO, N.Y. ASSEMBLY MINORITY LEADER: Well, Heidi, what we're saying is that this a tremendous body blow for the people of New York state. Our hearts are broken. Our hearts and our prayers go out to the governor, his family, his children and his wife.
But we have to continue with governance here and this is a total distraction. It's basically a circus here in New York state at the Capitol. The governor came here with such tremendous hope. Ethically, he made that the hallmark of his administration. He has breached that contract with the people of New York state, not only ethically but legally in his choice of risky behavior.
So, we have asked that the governor resign as soon as possible, and we've said that within 24 to 48 hours, if he does not resign and remove this distraction so Lieutenant Governor Paterson can take that position and move us forward, that we would put forth the resolution for articles of impeachment. That hasn't been done in close to over 100 years. We'd hate to have do that.
It's not about politics, Republican or Democrat. It's about what's right and wrong in moving this government forward. With this distraction, we just cannot move forward. He has lost all support by the public, by the leaders here and by this government.
COLLINS: So -- so quickly ...
TEDISCO: So, we have to ask for his resignation.
COLLINS: So quickly just to clarify, you are saying now within 24 to 48 hours, that's how long the governor of New York has to resign before you would begin to introduce these articles of impeachment? TEDISCO: Yes, we are preparing the resolution and the paperwork right now, but we'll give the governor some time. He may be making some decisions or some negotiations with the law enforcement officials in relationship to the legal aspects of this. And I think we have to give him at least some time to do that.
But we have a budget we have to get in place within two weeks. We have a $5 billion deficit right now we have to deal with. We need a leader that can allow us all stand up and make some tough decisions and move this state forward with the quality of life we have to have.
COLLINS: You say there is business to be done and business to be done right now and that this situation is standing in the way. Listen with me, if you will, to Harvard Law Professor Dershowitz who had this to say about the situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: This is private sexual misconduct. And we know from history, from Jefferson, from Franklin to Eleanor Roosevelt, from Bill Clinton, from John Kennedy, from Lyndon Johnson, that people can govern well during the day while acting as children and adolescents in the evening. This is just so overblown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Eliot Spitzer did serve as Dershowitz's research assistant as well. What do you think of his comments?
TEDISCO: He sounds just like an apologist for somebody who's broken the law, who was the attorney general who knows the laws, who investigated and who arrested people who did the exact same thing. It's not only unethical, it's illegal, it's risky behavior. We can't have a leader with questions like this that are going to be asked over and over and over again about his behavior.
We take no excitement in the fact that this governor has to leave. He had tremendous promise. In fact, most individuals thought this was just a byway for him to get to the presidency. And we don't need apologists right now, we need somebody to stand up and lead us. And Eliot Spitzer is incapable of doing that right now.
COLLINS: Very quickly, Assemblyman, I know that you spoke with Lieutenant Governor Paterson last night. What happened in that conversation?
TEDISCO: I don't want to divulge the total of what that conversation was all about. But we had a discussion that if indeed there was a resignation, would we be able to work with him and pledge our full support to move forward. And we did -- I did pledge the full support of our assembly Republican Congress because, as I said, it's not about politics anymore, it's about moving forward as a government, doing the right thing, getting legislation done and getting this circus out of Albany so we can go about the people's business.
COLLINS: New York's minority leader in the State Assembly, James Tedisco. Thanks for your time, appreciate it.
TEDISCO: Appreciate it, thank you.
HARRIS: Politics is a game of chance. Who needs a run-off when the race can be decided by cards?
Reporter Christine Jones of affiliate KOAT has the story.
CHRISTINE JONES, KOAT REPORTER (voice-over): A high-stakes game of five-card stud.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a brand new deck of cards for us to use.
JONES: The prize: a position as a Estancia trustee. You see, Josie Richards and Michelle Dunlap (ph) each took the gamble of running for office. The vote, a draw. The only way to pick a winner, a game of chance.
(on camera): One seat and three women. Michelle Dunlap, Josie Richards, and Lady Luck.
(voice-over): In the end, Lady Luck sided with Richards. She drew a pair of nines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn over your bottom card and we'll see what we have. Pair of nines, pair of nines wins.
JONES: If this all sounds a little familiar, it might be because this isn't the first time a New Mexico election has been decided by a deck of cards.
JONES: In 2006, Edgewood's mayor was chosen by card draw. Turns out under New Mexico law in the event of a tie, the winner is chosen by a game of chance, a chance Richards is glad she took.
JOSIE RICHARDS, CARD GAME/ELECTION WINNER: I was very nervous, of course. I'm a big competitor and I wanted this position.
JONES: And she got it thanks to a little luck. Not a bad prize for one hand of five-card stud.
In Estancia, I'm Christine Jones, KOAT-Action 7 News.
COLLINS: CNN NEWSROOM continues one hour from now. I'm Heidi Collins.
HARRIS: And I'm Tony Harris. "BALLOT BOWL" is next. We'll see you tomorrow.
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