'Special Report' Panel on the Eliot Spitzer Sex Scandal

This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume" from March 11, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PETER KING, (R) NEW YORK REPRESENTATIVE: And I know there was a debate about whether or not this is a personal tragedy. It is a tragedy for the state, but, also, it is personal in that he had so much talent, so much ability, and he squandered it.

And he has no one to blame but himself. I really don't have much sympathy for him.

JOHN TEDISCO, (R) NY STATE ASSEMBLY MINORITY LEADER: He can no longer lead this government, because I believe he has been severely compromised. And we are asking for his resignation today.


BRIT HUME, HOST: Well, both those guys are Republicans from this state; one of them, of course, Congressman Pete King, a familiar face to many people, and the other gentleman, Tedisco, served with Spitzer here in the state legislature.

So what about this controversy? Some thoughts on it from Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of "The Weekly Standard," Juan Williams, Senior Correspondent of National Public Radio, and Mort Kondracke, the Executive Editor of "Roll Call," FOX News contributors all three.

Mort, the calls are mounting. Most of them are coming from Republicans. No Democrat is put forward that he ought to stay in office, so the silence from that side is deafening. And yet he hangs on.

First of all, what effect does it have with him continuing in office?

MORT KONDRACKE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "ROLL CALL": Well, I think he's trying to see whether there will be any rallying of support for him, and there is none. And I would suspect that he's got to go and it is only a matter of time.

Now, he may want to trade his willingness to resign with prosecutors for a reduction of sentence. There could be some sort of a plea bargain that he's hoping to engage in. I have seen that speculated about.

I have rarely seen the ruin of any public figure, at least any American, greeted with so much glee as this has been.

HUME: Why is that?

KONDRACKE: Because he is such a mean guy. What he used to do when he was Attorney General with corporations is to threaten to indict the entire corporation in order to get rid of the CEO, in order to have the board force them out under penalty of having the whole corporation ruined.

And then when somebody, John Whitehead, for example, who was one of the most--an investment banker, a major figure and used to be--

HUME: Right.

KONDRACKE: --as honest and decent of a man as you can possibly imagine--Spitzer calls him up and says "I'm going to ruin you for defending Hank Greenburg in that case of AIG.

HUME: AIG being the insurance company, Hank Greenburg being its long time CEO who was forced out in part by Spitzer.


There is just repeated behavior of this sort, and for him to portray himself as so holy, and then to come down this way, has people just amused. It is a horrible family tragedy, and he put his wife through more tragedy yesterday--public humiliation--by making her stand next to him.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: While we're all piling it on, let's just say Wall Street had some of that coming in an era in which there was lots of money flowing and lots of crazy dealings on Wall Street, and Eliot Spitzer did good stuff in terms of protecting the interest of shareholders in this country.

It is why 69 percent of people voted for him when he became governor of the state, it was an incredible landslide. And the tragedy today is that he has wasted it.

He wasted a moment when New York State really needed reform, really needed somebody to come in and act as the sheriff, and, as a matter of personal indulgence, he has gone overboard in something that is reminiscent in my mind of what Bill Clinton did at the end of his term with Monica Lewinsky.

HUME: The AP is reporting tonight, by the way, that he may have spent as much as $80,000 over many years time on prostitution services.

WILLIAMS: Well, look, it is not a matter--you said it is deafening that the Democrats are silent on this issue. I think people do not want to appear as vultures, because you're going to have replacing him David Patterson, who is an African-American, I might mention legally blind, and he would become the governor.

Now, he was very successful at the State Senate Democratic leader. There were people who question whether or not he should take the Lieutenant Governorship, whether that was a mistake. Apparently he is in a position now to become the most powerful man in the state.

FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I don't know why they would be vultures if they came out and said look, Democrats, now is the time for Governor Spitzer to resign.

I don't see how he can stay in office. Brit, what you pointed to, the story of as much as $80,000 being spent by Governor Spitzer on prostitutes, you know in the next weeks, more and more sordid information will com come out.

People will wind up interviewing the prostitutes; there is the possibility of a criminal investigation that Mort referred to; Republicans will try to impeach him. He won't be doing his Party any favor by staying in, and I think there is no question he will have to resign.

It was a little different with Bill Clinton. Remember Bill Clinton who at first denied that he had an affair, if you want to call it that, with Monica Lewinsky.

But I think even if you look back at that, Democrats now look back at the whole Clinton scandal--all that did was dominate the Party in Washington for a couple of years. If he had resigned in 1998 and Gore had taken over as president, Gore might have won in 2000. Instead, with Clinton staying in, Gore was obviously hurt.

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