[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/21/politicians.sex.scandals/art.eliotspitzer.gi.jpg caption="Don't miss Christine Romans' interview with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer."]
CNN New York
Third time’s a charm, unless you’re talking about GDP estimates. The federal government today downwardly revised its estimate of how fast the economy grew in the third quarter. The Gross Domestic Product grew at an annual rate of 2.2% in the July through September period, the figure’s third and final revision. The number is smaller than expected and it represents a sharp decline from the original number reported two months ago – a gain of 3.5% (the number was revised last month to a gain of 2.8%).
Still it was the first quarter of growth we’ve seen after four straight quarters of contraction, and the best reading in two years. The growth has led many economists to speculate that the recession is over.
Christine Romans has a great interview with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. He’s speaking out about big banks, big bonuses and the financial crisis.
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/24/south.carolina.governor/t1home.sanford.presser.02.gi.jpg caption="South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on Wednesday as he admits to having an affair."]
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/06/16/ensign.affair/art.ensign.presser.ktnv.jpg caption="Sen. John Ensign of Nevada at a press conference admitting to an affair with a campaign staffer."]
Today’s admission by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford that he made a secret trip to Argentina where he was having an affair with a woman may be interesting, but it is definitely not unprecedented in American politics. Tonight on AC360° we dig deeper into what makes these political figures take such risks. For a quick refresher, here are some notable apologies and mea culpas over the years.
Gov. Mark Sanford (R – South Carolina)
June 24, 2009
In a news conference:
“And so the bottom line is this: I have been unfaithful to my wife. I developed a relationship with a - what started as a dear, dear friend from Argentina. It began very innocently as I suspect many of these things do, in just a casual e-mail back and forth in advice on one's life there and advice here.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/24/naughty.politician/art.eliot.spitzer.gi.jpg caption="A recent poll found 23 percent of respondents think former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer should get the nod as the naughtiest politician of 2008."]
As poll after poll quantifies the public's immense admiration for Barack Obama as the incoming 44th president of the United States, other politicians, especially those elected to serve in the U.S. Congress, continue to yield approval numbers low enough to flash-freeze an elephant (or a donkey) in under a minute.
They have only themselves to blame.
Their troubles come against the backdrop of the seemingly endless scandals involving elected officials from across the nation and both sides of the political aisle, from New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to Idaho Sen. Larry Craig to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney of Florida, who only two short years ago was voted into office as a moral crusader to replace disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley.
While political sex scandals are nothing new, the media's scrutiny of their impact on politicians' spouses is a relatively new topic of conversation.
As far back as we know, men in power have engaged in extra-marital affairs. It wasn't until then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, perhaps due to her elevated profile on universal health care reform, endured the public humiliation of standing beside her husband, before a phalanx of cameras on live national television, did the public begin unrestrained discussion and debate about the behavior of the victims, especially that of the politician's wife. "Stepford Wife" was a label often uttered by the disdainful; others defended her stoicism.
It must be excruciating for Silda Spitzer to wake up to today’s news coverage: Photographs and the life story of her husband’s prostitute plastered all over the New York tabloids and cable television.
Having endured the public humiliation of literally standing by her man twice in the last three days as he confessed to betraying her, now she can see the 22-year old face and bikini-clad body of the Ashley Dupre, for whom Eliot Spitzer paid thousands of dollars for sex in the Mayflower Hotel the day before Valentine’s Day.
It’s far more than any of us wanted to know, that our Harvard Law-educated middle-aged governor turned away from his loyal, attractive, Harvard Law-educated middle-aged wife and was willing to risk his career and his family’s dignity for sex with a young woman only a few years older than his teenaged daughters.
Standing in front of Ms. Dupré's apartment last night, I got that awful feeling that I was contributing to the glamorization of prostitution. A fancy address, a doorman, young fashionable people walking in and out, with the implicit message: "all this could be yours if you enter the world of so-called high end hookers".
Having seen my share of women who are suddenly famous because of the people they "service", I can say Ashley Dupré is in for a rough ride.
Read between the lines of her MySpace story and I see a young girl, confused and simply used by so many in her life. She even told the NYTimes she doesn't know how she can pay for her apartment since a man she was living with walked out.
All of it tragically sad, and sadly glamorous in a spotlight that I feel will leave Ms. Dupré in a dark shadow once we in the media focus our lights elsewhere.
– Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit Correspondent
Should you stand by your man? Opinions often differ between men and women and they also differ based on your own individual past stories.
Someone who has been burned tends to feel "NO WAY!" and those that have either been the betrayer or know something about having made a mistake and hurt someone, think it's pretty reasonable to stay with your man.
The answer to what you should do is really quite complicated because infidelity can be the symptom of a very sick marriage that once repaired could thrive well. It's also complicated because despite feelings of betrayal, humiliation, anger and sadness a woman may very well still love this man that she has built a family and a life with. Divorce has tragic consequences both emotional and financial for both partners as well as for the children.
The details coming out about what soon-to-be former NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer may have been involved in, with whom, and for how long are compelling. Every time I finish reading one article, a link to another seems to grab my mouse like a magnet. But there are other stories out there, and I thought you may want to learn more about them, too. So… here goes.
An honors student, vice president of his eighth grade class, suspended for buying a bag of Skittles in school. I admit, when I first saw this story my initial reaction was, “Give me a break!” But as I read more takes on this tale, my outrage softened a bit.
New Haven, Connecticut, schools banned in-school candy sales in 2003 as part of a wellness program. This (seemingly) model student said he didn’t realize the ban was in place – though his buyer said this Skittles dealer was being secretive – and his mom is now protesting the punishments.
By now you've heard that Eliot Spitzer has stepped down as Governor of New York. But he still could face serious criminal charges, and that got me thinking about prostitution.
I've tried a lot of those cases. And here's what you learn right away: as much as the sex trade is about sex, it’s also about trade. Business. Supply and demand.
Where I practiced law in California, the criminal code is gender neutral. It targets anyone engaged in the commercial sex trade. The girls, their johns, even the pimps when you can catch them.
Not so here in New York where the women involved in prostitution have long been treated more harshly than the men. But Eliot Spitzer changed all that, with a new law that increases penalties for the men who solicit sex.
The thinking? Cut off demand and supply will dry up. And that’s the tragic irony. Now, it seems, Governor Spitzer may be one of the very johns his new law seeks to punish.
– Jami Floyd, “In Session” Anchor/360° Contributor