While the nation’s mouths are hanging open at Gov. Eliot Spitzer, every time his public apology airs I can’t take my eyes or my mind off of his poor wife, Silda Wall Spitzer. Why is it that she stood there beside her husband during his public admission yesterday afternoon? It certainly wasn’t to better herself. Gov. Spitzer’s advisors probably deemed the “stand by your man” philosophy necessary, but her presence at her husband’s press conference yesterday only truly benefited Gov. Spitzer, leaving Silda most likely irreparably humiliated. Nobody’s doing damage control in Silda’s camp. While advisors may see it as a team effort, why does that have to trump your personal pride?
Also, I wonder, when did he tell Silda? And what did she think? Gov. Spitzer became the New York Attorney General in 1999 and built his career fighting corporate corruption and investigating prostitution. In fact, in 2004 Gov. Spitzer was part of an investigation that arrested 18 people on charges of promoting prostitution.
This allegation that he repeatedly hired high-end prostitutes is a heavy blow to anyone vowing “till death do us part.” Even if she is there for him “in sickness and in health,” did Silda have to be at the press conference?
During his apology yesterday, Gov. Spitzer said, "Today I want to briefly address a private matter. I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and 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." But the matter was anything but private, and if you read between the lines, it wasn’t even fully addressed.
But this certainly isn’t the first time a very public male figure has had his wife stand by him during a very humiliating, private matter. To list a few dutiful spouses, there’s Hillary Clinton, Dina McGreevey, Vanessa Bryant (Kobe Bryant’s wife) and Wendy Vitter (wife to Rep. David Vitter).
Dina Matos, the ex-wife of former Gov. Jim McGreevey, stood beside her husband as he announced to the world that he was gay. It makes me wonder, why did she, too, agree to appear at the press conference? In an interview with Oprah, Matos explained: "I thought about it, and I thought, well, I've stood by his side all these years. We have a daughter together, and one day she's going to hear about this or read about it, and she's going to ask me, 'Mommy, why weren't you at Daddy's side?'" she said. "So I was there for my daughter's father. And I also had nothing to hide. I had done nothing wrong."
That’s right—if you’ve done nothing wrong—why are you at the press conference?
Gov. Spitzer said, “I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better." No question about that. My Nigerian cab driver told me how he had written a note to Gov. Spitzer years ago, when Spitzer was attorney general. “I was a nobody and his office answered me back right away.” He told me his “heart hurt” thinking about the governor’s now-most-likely ruined career.
But his wife, standing by his side in that awkward non-informational press conference? After her public humiliation, he said, that was just a mean thing to make her do.
-Soledad O’Brien, CNN Anchor
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