McGreevey Makes First Public Appearance Since Scandal

Gov. James McGreevey (search) made his first public appearance Wednesday since his stunning resignation announcement, signing two bills to promote economic development but never mentioning the sex scandal.

A crowd of politicians, labor leaders and about 300 union members who sat in risers behind the stage greeted the governor with polite applause for about 30 seconds as he rose to speak.

"Please. I've only got 80 days left," said McGreevey, who spoke for about five minutes before signing the bill announced on Aug. 12 that he is "a gay American" and that he had had an extramarital affair with a man. He said he planned to resign on Nov. 15.

McGreevey has not named the man in the affair, but administration sources say it was Golan Cipel (search), a former homeland security adviser who quit his $110,000 a year job after his credentials were questioned.

After signing the bills, McGreevey shook hands with those in the front row and was quickly escorted off the stage by his state police detail. Reporters called out to the governor, but McGreevey never acknowledged them as he walked quickly behind a blue curtain on the stage.

Several of the union workers who cheered on McGreevey said the governor's sexual orientation and extramarital affair were of no concern to them.

"It's how he treats the unions that's important. Who cares if he's gay nowadays," said union carpenter Mickey Jones, 66.

Meanwhile, Republicans continued their campaign to get McGreevey out of office in time to allow for a special election. If McGreevey leaves office before Sept. 3, a special election would be held in November to choose his replacement. Otherwise, Democratic Senate President Richard J. Codey (search) will serve as acting governor until McGreevey's term expires in 2006.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie joined state GOP leaders to launch television and radio ads that urge Democratic leaders to call for McGreevey's immediate departure.