Citizen Spitzer

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eliot Spitzer, columnist for Slate and former Governor of New York, talks about AIG bonuses, CEO compensation, the NYS budget, and other matters of the day.


Eliot Spitzer

Comments [108]

bill from wilson wy

mr. spitzer was an egotistical do nothing as a politician. he left no legacy behind except one of self aggrandizing witch hunts on wall street. he attacked aig but left in place the fraud and miss management that brought us the global economic crisis. he leaves nothing of any value as a legacy, except nastiness, bitterness and arrogance. please do us all a favor and treat him like he treated others, particularly women, at meetings. ignore him and please do not bring him on your show again.

Apr. 07 2009 11:42 AM
seth from Long Island

good segment

Mar. 22 2009 07:54 PM
gaetano catelli from manhattan

another solid segment, Brian.

Mar. 19 2009 10:08 PM
artista from greenpoint

this was my second listen.
Thanks for speaking with Spitzer. This morning I thought it was a bit tacky for you to ask about his being hounded from office, until I read the nasty early posts here while listening to the 1- am replay. It probably was better that you cleared the air by raising the question with him. Spitzer's fall is tragic in the ancient sense: the fall of a hero thanks to hubris.
I wonder how many of the truly truly outraged people here saw Hank Greenberg opining on Charlie Rose and felt bile rise in their throat. Few, I am guessing, too few.
Sex makes for the perfect scapegoat (except if you are Republican, eg Larry Craig, David Vitter).

Mar. 19 2009 01:36 AM
DAT from Nathan Straus Projects

Former Governor Eliot Spitzer problems,
were personal, between him and his spouse.
Problems like those, should never be used
to drive anyone from political office.

Right now, in this time of financial crisis,
New York State, would be in a much better
position with Spitzer at the helm.

President Obama has used poor judgement,
he is coming up short.

Mar. 19 2009 12:56 AM

No one is trying to "reward" Mr. Spitzer, we're merely grateful that he has important information to provide to us.
The fact that he is willing to come forward with analysis and information despite peoples' nearly irrelevant (at this point) criticism of his bad decisions over the years vis-a-vis prostitution says a great deal to me about his longterm integrity.

Mar. 19 2009 12:51 AM
Mary from New York

While Mr. Spitzer has something of value to contribute to the AIG story, I think it was wrong to invite him as a guest. The former governor's actions jeopardized the integrity of his office. How different, really, is it rewarding Mr. Spitzer's bad behavior from that of Wall Street?

Mar. 18 2009 10:09 PM
ellen nyc from east village

I'll never get over the "convenient" timing of Elliot Spitzer getting busted within just a few days of Wall Street corruption being revealed.

How sad that he isn't here to fight for us now. It was great to hear his commentary.

Mar. 18 2009 08:55 PM
alisa from brooklyn

hey brian,

i think it's totally cool you had spitzer on. he has some expertise and we're all fallible human beings right? not to condone but i don't want to see the poor guy with a scarlet letter on his chest.

take care,
alisa malinovich (We met many years ago when i was coauthoring a book with my mom)

Mar. 18 2009 05:17 PM
ismael from nyc

I think it well within the Brian Lehrer show ethos to listen to folks that have direct expertise with the issue. Mr. Spitzer has value to add to conversation. I would like to know Brian's and his staff's rationale at pursuing Mr.Spitzer. Well done. From catholic school I remember a lesson from a parable. "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone."

Mar. 18 2009 04:42 PM

BTW, hard to believe the WSJ editorial page has the gall to blame Spitzer for AIG's downfall.

Mar. 18 2009 03:04 PM

I agree with Leo entirely, but especially about the counterparties - they should have to take a haircut, not the US taxpayer.

Brian Lehrer and staff: thank you so much for having Eliot Spitzer on as a guest. Some of the most essential thinkers have traditionally made foolish mistakes themselves. I'm grateful that he hasn't simply disappeared - his analysis, particularly of AIG, is essential.

Bring back our Sheriff of Wall Street.

Mar. 18 2009 03:01 PM
Leo from Queens

Longstreet - Your comments about Obama show your blind hate and stupidity.. Poor people pay taxes- They don't pay certain taxes because they don't make enough, but they pay taxes - in fact, they pay a bigger portion of their wealth in taxes than do the wealthy.

You obviously don't have a problem with spreading the wealth to the top 1% of the population or giving executives who brought capitalism down billions of of taxpayer dollars to clean up their mess.
What's really outrageous and painful and why the country is bankrupt (Remember Bush taking billions in surplus and turning it into a Trillion dollar debts) is that their are millions of hateful idiots like you in this country..

Mar. 18 2009 02:56 PM
Leo from Queens

Thank you Brian for having Spitzer on. We all have our personal flaws and what he did was stupid and personally destructive but it does not take away from his professional accomplishments and insight and knowledge.

Listeners should be more tolerant and open minded.

Regarding AIG - we need to understand that AIG was and is a valued, legitimate company which was taken over and brought down by organized crime (the financial products unit based out of London). We need stricter and sound regulation of AIG and all financial companies - SPin off or sell the legitimate portion of AIG (90% of the company) and leave the rogue, organized-crime controlled unit with the toxic insurance. The counterparties can get 40-50 cents on the dollar if they want and they can prove the real value of their 'assets' or 'products'. If they don't have any 'products' or 'assets' to show then they get zero.

Mar. 18 2009 02:51 PM
Seth from Richmond, VA

While the disdain for Spitzer was understandable at the time he was found out, it seems irrelevant today, so I don't understand some of first the comments here I read.

What Spitzer did was essentially a private matter with effects on his family. What affects us all directly and severely are the attempts of the executives of AIG, Lehman, Bear, and nearly all of the other banks to bankrupt our financial system for their own gain.

They make Spitzer look good. Furthermore, if Spitzer were still governor, we'd probably all be better off today.

Mar. 18 2009 12:50 PM
Joshua Lefkowitz from NYC

If you are not being paid for your labor then you are working for free.

Mar. 18 2009 11:58 AM
longstreet from NYC area

jj #89: I'm glad you are unhappy with Obama. That's good. I'm puzzled by your reaction to the fact that he comes from the Chicago Democratic culture. So, everyone else in Chicago is neck deep in corruption, but Obama is clean? Surely, you jest.
His Marxism seems pretty clear to me: spreading the wealth around, cutting checks to non-taxpayers, appointing left-wingers all over the place, spending like crazy. Plus, throw in the guidance he's received through the years from a blame the US first spouse and a psycho preacher, among others.
Time will prove it, you'll see.

Mar. 18 2009 11:51 AM
Joshua Lefkowitz from NYC

The public owns 80% of AIG. Why not just nationalize it already?

Mar. 18 2009 11:38 AM
LTrippe from New York City

Having Eliot Spitzer on to address the AIG controversies was a courageous choice and his contribution was pithy, extremely fact-based and utterly fascinating. In fact, because I heard only part of it, I will listen to the whole segment again as soon as you have it linked.

This citizen has more than paid for his transgressions. His hubris and hypocrisy have been recognized and atoned. For Pete's sake, for our sake, let us not continue to ostracize this brilliant, experienced, relentless former public servant. I believe Spitzer's fall from grace has likely improved his qualifications as a public servant, adding a bit of 'heart' to his portfolio. We need Eliot Spitzer back as a public servant.

Mar. 18 2009 11:35 AM


"I act honorably, privately and publicly. I'm a small businessman and I wouldn't bankrupt my company in the first place."

-That's great, me too. That's why neither of us are testifying in front of congress now, as opposed to AIG corporate culture, which is, and therefore the subject of this dialogue.

"Secondly, last month, Obama said the economy could go from crisis to catastrophe, and it might never recover. Remember that? He was trying to jam through the stimulus bill at the time. Now, apparently, he's with McCain in that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Hello, McFly? Think, McFly, think.
Mr. Teleprompter is first and foremost a politician, as as such is presumed to be guilty from the get-go. Never forget that, for Republicans or Democrats."

-Yes, he is a politician, and a green one at that. On the other hand, it seems that he is trying and I am hoping his learning curve is high or at least existent, unlike his predecessor. He doesn't have that ignorant arrogance, that swagger, which characterized Bush, even as he blunders. Hence the "Hope" America's majority of voters seem to have in him. Personally I'm not dem or repub, didn't like Clinton and didn't like Bush and frankly am irritated w and disappointed in Obama. But I am anything but hopeless, in fact I know it won't be as bad ultimately as either the most rapid dems or repubs exclaim (THAT'S politics).

"What makes it worse in his case is that he's a Chicago politico, and a Marxist, to boot.You and his supporters are being played."

Oh well, That's just Rush's meds talking again. Gotta turn that guy off along with his entrail of bloggers and copycats, they're so mean.

Mar. 18 2009 11:34 AM
SUE from Bronx, NY

Spitzer is so intelligent and knowledgeable and has so much to offer. His comments were so incisive! He is aware of what went before and knows the ins and outs of AIG and many other companies he studied as Attorney General. He fell based on private and foolish not-even misdeeds not affecting his public duties, misdeeds that only in this country are seen as more importanr than what is good for the state and the country. Pruriency triumphed and what was important was dragging him through the mud for all to see. We lost a thinker of great integrity in every other aspect.

Mar. 18 2009 11:33 AM
Phil from Queens

-- Let it be known that in addition to the Dems creating Fanny and Freddy to give broke people homes, the problems with Wall Street really started getting bad when Clinton cut the guts out of the SEC oversight yielding the and Enron and Worldcom bubbles. You know W wasn't going to beef it back up too much; and for all of the Bama's small campaign contributors (and who really knows where 200 - 300 million of those anoynomous dollars came from, much through pre-paid debit cards...) a big part of the almost 800 million "raised" (against McCain's 84 million in public funding) came from big, big money -- investment houses and law firms maxing out themselves and everyone they knew. Unfortunately, the protection they thought they were buying is now doubtful as the Dems try to change America in a way few educated or hard working people really want.

Mar. 18 2009 11:20 AM
Sarah from Manhattan

Okay, #78, but was Elliot the only one of these johns who committed these crimes?? I'm not prone to conspiracy, not a 9-11 nutjob, etc. but I continue to be amazed at the lack of followthru on this issue. If Spitzer's prosecution really was about the crimes he committed in the course of engaging w/ hookers, then his fellow johns would have been charged too. Yes, he should be held to a higher standard and I'm not saying he didn't need to resign. But I still consider the investigation that led to his prosecution suspicious and am amazed that no major media outlet has looked into it further. If we went after every pol who slept around....

Mar. 18 2009 11:15 AM
longstreet from NYC area

jj #80: I act honorably, privately and publicly. I'm a small businessman and I wouldn't bankrupt my company in the first place.
Secondly, last month, Obama said the economy could go from crisis to catastrophe, and it might never recover. Remember that? He was trying to jam through the stimulus bill at the time. Now, apparently, he's with McCain in that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Hello, McFly? Think, McFly, think.
Mr. Teleprompter is first and foremost a politician, as as such is presumed to be guilty from the get-go. Never forget that, for Republicans or Democrats.
What makes it worse in his case is that he's a Chicago politico, and a Marxist, to boot.
You and his supporters are being played.

Mar. 18 2009 11:12 AM
suzanne from Plainfield

A very good show Brian. Spitzer has a great perspective that's easy to understand bc I know where he comes from. Some of these posts remind me of the 'scandal' with Bubba, the US Congress impeached him for a personal scandal but did nothing about Bush, who spied on us and tortured people. Their priorities are out of whack. I was very disappointed when Spitzer fell, bc he could have done so much to help the progressive cause. Shakespearean story to say the least. He paid for his mistake, what about these Wall St types and Bush & Cheney?

Mar. 18 2009 11:08 AM
Karen from Manhattan

Spitzer was never indicted, and I object to posters "convicting" him here.

Moreover, he played a key role in investigating and exposing AIG accounting fraud and has a unique perspective on AIG's management and corporate culture. Those issues are key to understanding and solving the current crisis. I note that Spitzer also directed our attention to the real issue, which is what AIG did with the rest of the bailout money -- namely, handed it over to Goldman Sachs et al.

What surprises me is that sophisticated, WNYC listeners would argue that Brian should not have interviewed Spitzer, a valuable source of information with relevant opinions, because of Spitzer's personal indiscretions.

Mar. 18 2009 11:07 AM
James B from NYC qute the young, hip & stupid "awesome, duuuude"...Eliot is back!!!

What's up here? I was wondering what all that media chatter on WNYC last week on the one year 'anniversery' of Gov. Spitzer's resignation was about. Now, it's out. The campaign to resurrect his career as a public official is transparent, and WNYC has chosen to enable & further it? Can we get some 'independent investigative reporting' to dig into whether the former Gov. or any members of his family or any business entities which they may have power over are major/minor contributors to WNYC or NPR? Any connections here?
Most of us really didn't care about the Gov.'s dalliances outside of his marriage, with prostitutes or any other willing party - that is a personal issue between himself & his family & those parties. His crime, his 'egregious error of judgement' was in the fact that the chief law enforcement official of any level of government severely compromises his actual or perceived ability to enforce the laws of the state when he engages in covert business with organized crime organizations, risking threatened exposure by them & thereby subjecting himself to their influence in ways unknown in their extent. That was the reason why he was compelled to resign. And that is the reason why, having demonstrated such impaired judgement & perhaps even mental instability, he ought to recuse himself from further public advocacy on any issue. No one is suggesting taking away his right to vote or advocate any opinions in private he may wish to - but anyone who looks to him to 'lead' on any issues in a public forum risks the ridicule & embarrassment that our present radio talk show host has inexplicably brought upon himself! Even perhaps as an expert in 'egregious errors of judgement' most of us are no longer interested in the opinions of the former Gov.

Mar. 18 2009 11:05 AM
hjs from 11211

he wasn't charged with any of the crimes, few people are and the MAN act is not enforced anymore.

Mar. 18 2009 11:04 AM

75 longstreet -- I read 72 differently.

The point there I think is that spitzer was taken out because he was too annoying to the powers that be. while conspiratorial it sounds entirely logical to me, though spitzer made it so easy. empathize w the powers that be, what would you do if you were pulling $50 million out of your failing company every year -- support spitzer??

as far as your conflation btwn "lefties" and obama and the hopelessness of "hope" and "change," well, that just sounds like rush limbaugh's prescriptions talking.

Mar. 18 2009 11:03 AM
pomerol from Brooklyn

The bonus recipients:


Mar. 18 2009 11:01 AM
Linda from Westchester

The issue with Spitzer is not about the morality of his actions with a prostitute, it is about the legality of his behavior - including

* Money laundering for trying to conceal the source and recipient of financial transactions.
* Tax evasion, if he was a knowing party to an all-cash business that wasn't filing taxes.
* Violation of the Mann Act for paying for the trip from New York to D.C. by the call girl known as "Kristen."
* Misuse of state resources, if he used his state-issued credit card for hotels or meals with prostitutes as well as if he was being protected by State Troopers during his dalliances.
* And finally, soliciting prostitution.

While I acknowledge that he is a bright guy who messed up, I am also pointing out the hypocrisy here. It was one year ago - almost to the day - that he resigned and he is using this [very well-respected] show as a springboard for his next role.

As for changing stations, done - just as the show began - but I can still be heard on the topic by WNYC.

Mar. 18 2009 10:56 AM
diana m. from nyc

Spitzer has a unique and, in my opinion, invaluable perspective in this discussion. As he wrote in yesterday's issue of Slate, "The appearance that this was all an inside job is overwhelming. AIG was nothing more than a conduit for huge capital flows to the same old suspects, with no reason or explanation." The implication that AIG and its counterparties knew what they were doing (i.e., protecting themselves/unduly burdening taxpayers) is profoundly troubling. Spitzer has sounded the clarion call. Are we listening?

Mar. 18 2009 10:52 AM

Welcome back Eliot! Great segment. This is a brilliant guy who is a watchdog, and he paid the price for his mistake. Given the the state of the current situation we need sharp minds who are practiced in unravelling the intricacies of what is going on. His discussion was thorough, sharp and relevant and it is good to know he is back. Thanks Brian.

Mar. 18 2009 10:51 AM
longstreet from NYC area

#72 so it takes a crook to take on the crooks? You lefties are very funny, and I thank you for that.
But at what point does it sink in that the entire government/ political establishment is beyond salvaging? Unfortunately, you guys can never admit it because it proves men like me are right in the first place when we say we want as limited a government as possible.
Just like "Hope" and "Change" are utterly meaningless and were simply tools to get elected.

Mar. 18 2009 10:50 AM

Phil/66 --

you do make good points -- but

even taking baby swings, as you accuse spitzer of doing, is better than propping up this orgy of greed conceived of and started by paulson bush and continued by geithner obama.

Mar. 18 2009 10:49 AM
Cath D from Katonah, NY

Elliott Spitzer serves his punishment every day as he watches other people running New York politics. It must make him CRAZY. He would have relished the chance to take on these Wall St companies that have caused so much turmoil for our economy.
Listeners who are offended by his presence on the show forget what a brilliant mind he has; he spoke so clearly and sensibly this morning - I feel he should still be serving as NY Govenor. I think he would be doing a good/ tough job.
He is a human being. We are all flawed. We all make mistakes. MOVE ON PEOPLE!

Mar. 18 2009 10:48 AM
Sarah from Manhattan

Elliot was Client #9. What happened to the other 8??? They had to be rich men to pay high-priced hookers. Why weren't their names dragged thru the mud? This is not to excuse Spitzer--his utter hypocrisy and craven foolishness--but isn't if feasible that he was taken out precisely because he spotlighted banking and Wall Street fraud? And the graft of legislators like Joe Bruno, who after all, was just indicted by the feds. I think Elliot made enemies who made him pay for his bad judgement w/ hookers. It's tragic that we don't have him in office to take on the crooks bilking the public for millions of $$
Bravo to Brian for putting him on.

Mar. 18 2009 10:43 AM
hjs from 11211

back to AIG
when the bush team and the dem congress wrote a blank check to wall st, what did they think these snake oil salesmen were going to do with the "free money"?

Mar. 18 2009 10:40 AM

Mr. Spitzer deserves respect. A similar point was raised during a Frontline's special a few weeks ago.
All these avaricious banks should disappear; they are just stealing taxpayer’s money money.

Mar. 18 2009 10:37 AM
Mary from Bronx

Eliot Spitzer's perspective is valid and intelligent. His personal debacle does not affect his ability to comment on current fiscal topics. My question has to do with the PERTINENT topic: AIG. Apparently, retention bonuses have been given to AIG employees who have already left the firm! Is it possible that the "bonuses" are subtle payments for them to keep quiet about what was really going on at AIG over the years?

Mar. 18 2009 10:37 AM
Suzanne from Yonkers from Deep River, Ct

I am very happy to have heard Elliot Spitzer so clearly lay out the serious issues of AIG and our money. More importantly he laid out what our current officials should have been doing and thus raises a lot more questions.

It seems we Americans get so upset about relatively small pecadillos while the real crimes of these politicians and this system goes unquestioned. Would you rather have Bush speaking on this? He isn't quilty of the behavior of Elliot Spitzer? Or Cheney -- a good family man?

Here is Spitzer -- for whatever personal reason-- giving us some powerful amunition to use against the officials and corporations that are mis-using billions of our money while we are being layed off work and losing our homes and all you can do is scream at Spitzer for his personal very small "crimes."

Mar. 18 2009 10:36 AM
Bruce Forsyth from NJ

What we are seeing now, the bonuses, how the money is being used by AIG as well as the other firms (CitiCorp) are perfect examples of why government should not be in the middle of this mess or at least needs to clearly define its role before jumping in the fray.

The people that set the deals up should probably have started the entire discussion from the perspective of a pre-packaged bankruptcy and the money set up as a Debtor In Possession loan. From that point, all the due diligence and discussion would have revolved around what had to be done to renegotiate contracts and restructure the business.

However, that is 20/20 hindsight. We have to structure the new money differently so that we taxpayers are not taken a second time.

On the bonuses and the like, I have no idea what the contracts actually say, maybe Mr. Cuomo will get that information for us. However, I against the government abrograting any contracts outside of the standard bankruptcy practices.

Government of the people, by the people and for the people should not be in the business or retroactive law making. Let's think ahead and try to avoid mistakes, not blunder into then and try to fix it later.

Mar. 18 2009 10:34 AM
Phil from Queens

-- let lil'Eliott tell his tale to the new AG and to the US atty in private. He is a disgrace and any attorney who ever sat in on deal with him, as did I knew he was a self-serving freak. He picked the brokerage houses to attack to make a name for himself, not to help the little guy. They could pay a few fines and not much changed. It was a subterfuge. In fact as a captive of big corporate interests, he was never going to really upset the apple cart and didn’t. Always follow the money and don’t be distracted by the smoke and mirrors.

Mar. 18 2009 10:34 AM
longstreet from NYC area

After the reprobate Peter Singer yesterday, and the laughingstock Spitzer today, can I request as guests for tomorrow and Friday Blago and McGreevey?

Mar. 18 2009 10:33 AM

59 -- funny

Mar. 18 2009 10:33 AM
Sue from West Village

I would like to stand and applaud you for having Eliot Spitzer on your show. Yes, he is a flawed human being in his personal life, but he was one of the few people who was monitoring Wall Street during the binge of the last 10 years. Some informed sources believe that this may be the reason his personal failing was used to destroy his political career. Please have him on your show again whenever it's relevant!

Mar. 18 2009 10:33 AM

Please consider giving him a month of Thursdays BLS

Mar. 18 2009 10:32 AM
Jeff Putterman from Queens

Oh puhleeze. Let those of you who never spent $4000 an hour on hookers cast the first stone. ;-)

Mar. 18 2009 10:30 AM
Sven R. from NYC

Please speak up Eliot. Miss your judgment and zeal. As far as I'm concerned your sex life is none of our business, it's your mind we need... you can use the rest for whatever you see fit.

Mar. 18 2009 10:29 AM
jkl from manhattan

Tim Geithner vs Andrew Coumo: Tim Geithner is trying to fix the financial system and Andrew Cuomo is bringing investigations into populist issues with no real benefit to average New Yorkers that make for good campaign talking points.

Mar. 18 2009 10:29 AM
longstreet from NYC area

#37: More power to you. Watch your back, and your front, though.

Mar. 18 2009 10:29 AM
antonio from park slope

What does Mr. Spitzer's discretions have to do with his perspective on the current topic?

Mar. 18 2009 10:29 AM
judy from NYC

It's ABSURD that he was drummed out in disgrace because of indiscretions with a prostitute, while those Wall Street Fat Cats continue to steal our money, rather than skulk away in shame.

Mar. 18 2009 10:28 AM
Megan from NYC

I am glad that Spitzer came on. It's kind of hard to hear him, after such a disappointment last year (I had been a big fan of his). But his experience with the issues of the day are invaluable, and I am glad Brian Lehrer had the maturity to bring him on without accosting him about his history as a "disgraced govenor".

Mar. 18 2009 10:28 AM
pordy from Florham Park, NJ

I applaud WNYC and Brian for having Spitzer on- he clearly has a unique and insightful perspective on this issue.

Mar. 18 2009 10:28 AM

Great guest -- appropriate topic for him.
He is still a wizard -- but often arrogant.
Just can't be in a public office with a behavior pattern that includes illegal activity -- however personal.

Thanks you Brian.
Eliot's voice should be heard more often

Mar. 18 2009 10:28 AM
Chris from NYC

ELIOT! ELIOT! ELIOT! Get this guy back into government, kickin' butt and taking names.

Mar. 18 2009 10:28 AM
Susan Burger from Upper West Side

I am very glad that WNYC could separate the issues with Eliot Spitzer's political demise versus his expertise in understanding the issues of finance. Bravo for having him on. I have been mourning his failings because had he not failed, we would have a far better governor for dealing with our current financial crisis. Now humbled, he can perhaps serve us in a different role than the political realm.

Mar. 18 2009 10:28 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Can we get Spitzer back? If his wife forgives him I'm ready move on. Heck, I'm ready to move on even if she doesn't. It's really between them, no?

Mar. 18 2009 10:27 AM
Catherine Torpey from Rockville Centre

I'm all for having Spitzer on Brian's show. Why not? Let's hold him accountable for what he's done wrong, but let's also take the good. Dismissing people entirely for their wrong-doing is the source of many of our social ills. Let's have the intelligence to be able to take people who have done wrong things and see the good in them as well. It does NOT mean they are being given a free pass for their wrongdoing. Can we be a bit more subtle in our thinking and a bit humane?

Mar. 18 2009 10:27 AM
Matthew from Manhattan

Longstreet - I'd work side-by-side with Spitzer, too. More so than with some of the Obama administration.

Mar. 18 2009 10:27 AM
Katherine Folk-Sullivan from Brooklyn

Excellent interview, Brian: concise, perspicacious, respectful and tough. Everything I like about your show. Well done.

Mar. 18 2009 10:27 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Phil, I really think that you are off the mark. I think this interview with Spitzer has been informative. Brian, have him on again.

Mar. 18 2009 10:26 AM
jeffy from brooklyn


Mar. 18 2009 10:26 AM
Darius from Prospect Heights

I have nothing against Spitzer. His issues are personal and they should have stayed there. Anyone going after the abuses of big business is a friend of mine.

People attacking Spitzer on this page are comparing apples and oranges.

Mar. 18 2009 10:26 AM
Suki from Brooklyn

@ thatgirlinnewyork - I'll second that.

Mar. 18 2009 10:26 AM

Honestly - Spitzer committed a great personal wrong and betrayed the trust of the public. However, he's a smart man with a lot to offer. shouldn't we take advantage of that? I'm happy Brian had him on.

Mar. 18 2009 10:25 AM
Daniel Fowler

I'd just like to say that Spitzer's voice is an important one for this particular conversation. Thanks, Brian, for having him on!

Mar. 18 2009 10:25 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Looks like the Senate stripped an amendment that would have limited the bonuses:

Mar. 18 2009 10:24 AM

do NOT remain quiet, eliot!!

Mar. 18 2009 10:24 AM
Hugh from Brookyn

Timothy Geithner wasn't asleep at the wheel. He was one of the crooks, along with Paulson, Bernanke, Blankfein, and on and on.

These people accomplished what they intended, theft of the American people.

AND BRAVO Eliot Spitzer. I'd vote for you again!

Mar. 18 2009 10:23 AM

i would work side-by-side with spitzer any day. longstreet--adjust your tinfoil hat.

Mar. 18 2009 10:22 AM
Phil from Queens

-- The media is biased led by NPR. The Repubs complain about 9 billion and get bad coverage but the Bama complains about 175 million and again it’s like the second coming. Oh glorious God thank you for sending your divine servant -- Barry Obama to save us from the AIG bonuses. LOL! PS -- he is also saving us from having any retirement money, too.

-- Unfortunately for the main stream media and the Bama admin, the people are waking up and realizing that the emperor has no clothes!

Mar. 18 2009 10:21 AM
dbnyc from Brooklyn

most of these execs likely have airtight contracts that prevent them being fired except for cause which is usually very narrowly defined (and doesn't include poor performance). but there are very elementary corporate structures that could have prevented bailout money from being used for this purpse. the govt has had very poor, incompetent negotiators. it is absolutely standard for a white knight investor in this type to specify very narrow use of proceeds (which would exclude general corporate purposes such as payment of bonuses). I wish elliott spitzer was in DC negotiating on the taxpayers' behalf!!!

Mar. 18 2009 10:20 AM

If Lehrer didn't allow Spitzer to talk

--wouldn't that give fodder to those who dismiss WNYC as merely a clique of preachy blowhards who would rather hear their own voices over and over than, well, anything else in the world?

Go Brian

Mar. 18 2009 10:19 AM
John Hahn from Glen Rock NJ

Ah Phil from Queens.

If BLS is such a joke why do you listen?

Mar. 18 2009 10:19 AM
longstreet from NYC area

Would any of the Spitzer supporters like to work side by side with the man? Didn't think so. The governor, like our president, couldn't pass a background check with the FBI, yet he's qualified to run the state or city.
Alrighty then...

Mar. 18 2009 10:18 AM
hjs from 11211

purtins just turn the radio off!
who cares who this guy sleeps with

Mar. 18 2009 10:18 AM
Matthew from Manhattan

Goldman Sachs seem to be doing better, for all the economic fallout. They got $10 billion, from the g'ment, $22.9 from AIG (the g'ment, again) and Warren Buffet stepped in last spring. How many former Goldman employees have been treasury secretaries?

Mar. 18 2009 10:18 AM
John from NYC

This is the perfect case of smoke and mirrors. Eliot's using this as an oppurtunity to come back into the world after being disgraced. Come on Brian, your being made a pawn!
Barney Frank's statement yesterday is interesting.... Then how come the Congress gives themselvess raises when they've been doing such a poor job. Maybe we should be basing their compendsation on their poll results, at this point they'd be below the minimum wage.

Mar. 18 2009 10:17 AM
Lori from Montclair, NJ

I wouldn't have Spitzer back in government as we need to have standards for personal integrity, adherence to the laws, etc. However, he's highly competent and has a unique perspective/experience. Too bad he wasn't sentenced to a couple hundred hours worth of "public service" because he'd make a hell of an auditor/advisor and I would trust his evaluation of the current financial mess.

Mar. 18 2009 10:17 AM
PJA Carmody from Boston, MA

Love your show. Mr. Spitzer is focusing on precisely the right issues. Why was AIG used as a conduit to funnel money through to foreign banks like DB, and to Goldman Sachs. Surely, surely Paulson and the CEO of GS should not have been part of this decision-making due to extreme conflict of interest. Is this a ground for revocation of the payments to AIG. Spitzer is right: the bonus issue is a head feint. PJ CARMODY,Boston

Mar. 18 2009 10:17 AM
Phil from Queens

-- Your show is becoming the joke of the day. Brian you should resign for having this criminal and liar (who should be disbarred) on the air and PS I don't care about his hooker sex addiction, but rather about his bullying criminal abuse of power on numerous issues and misuse of government agencies including the State Police. He is the lowest of low and you should not help him rehabilitate his sorry ass. Shame on you! Real reporters like Ed Morrow, I.F. Stone and George Seldes are turning in their graves!

Mar. 18 2009 10:16 AM
John Hahn from Glen Rock NJ

I am interested in hearing Elliot Spitzers comments.

He screwed up big time as Governor.

But does that ban him for ever?

He was the AG. He did this work.

He is a good witness.

Getting a professor might be nice (and Safe) But Spitzer is the guy,

As a WNYC member I applaud BL & staff for getting Spitzer as an informed guest.

DOn't want listen? There is 88 up the dial and WABC 77 down the dial.

Or you can talk March Madness on the Fan.

BLS is doing their job.

Mar. 18 2009 10:15 AM
Suki from Brooklyn

I still love you Eliot!

Mar. 18 2009 10:14 AM

AIG has massive investments globally (since they traditionally profit by reinvesting premiums, and have huge business in Asia, where the company started).

If AIG goes under -- what happens to the hundreds of ports and other infrastructure they built or run? Will this crash all those local economies? Or provide a fire sale boom among vultures and local 3rd world pols?

Mar. 18 2009 10:14 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Great segment, Brian. Thanks for having Spitzer on.

Mar. 18 2009 10:14 AM
Linda from Westchester

I'm glad that others posted here rather than having comments sent to Listener Services as I, too, have no desire to hear Spitzer's comments on _any_ topic again ever.
As a member, I am really disappointed that WNYC chose to invite him on for remarks about a "scandal" rather than someone who has not been the architect of one.

Mar. 18 2009 10:14 AM
Robert from NYC

Elliot Spitzer is NOT like Rove. Eliot Spitzer's errors were personal but politically dumb but his erring ways did NOT affect policy. Let's grow up people. Spitzer is ok in my book who knows what he's talking about regarding these matters.

Mar. 18 2009 10:13 AM

pat's right--the banking industry/wall street brought him down for a reason. tell all, eliot!

Mar. 18 2009 10:13 AM
Bill from Manhattan

Spitzer has a wealth of experience in this area and years of public service. If we throw that away because of a personal mistake then it just compounds the mistake.

Mar. 18 2009 10:13 AM

i always said eliot knows where the bodies are hidden. GO eliot! wish he was still the guv.

Mar. 18 2009 10:11 AM
Phil from Queens

Try and tell the truth with context. Everyday you undermine your credibility. The true story is that when bail out money was contemplated there was discussion about NOT allowing bonuses. The Democrat Party, however, led by Sen. Dodd (the biggest recipient of AIG campaign contributions; the Bama was 2nd) set up the bailout money to allow bonuses; after all American big business owns Congress whether Dems or Repubs. The Democrat misadministration can not now be heard to complain. They are merely using this tempest in a teapot to obfuscate from their reckless social engineering and profligate spending. The Repubs complained about 9 billion in earmarks and the Dems didn't care. Now they complain about 175 million in bonuses to hard working folks who have valid contracts granting them such. We are all laughing out loud and the Bama admin loses credibility every time every member of that cabal opens their mouths.

Mar. 18 2009 10:11 AM
Merrill Clark from New York

I wonder if part of the deal for Spitzer to appear, if our beloved Brian Lehrer was precluded from asking Spitzer "personal" questions.

Mar. 18 2009 10:11 AM
Aaron from brooklyn

I for one hope this stays on subject.

Mar. 18 2009 10:10 AM
Matthew from Manhattan

Eliot - run for mayor!

Mar. 18 2009 10:10 AM
Mark from NYC

Why do you have this guy on? It's insulting to your listeners and discredits your seriousness as a journalist. Usually love your show but you get a F on this one Brian.

Mar. 18 2009 10:09 AM
Mike from Manhattan from Manhattan

Ask him why he didn't pay back all of the money to people who contributed to his campaign and wanted their money back. Because the campaign ran out of money? Then what about using his personal fortune? He wanted to hold onto every dime he could - no different from the AIG people.

Mar. 18 2009 10:07 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

I, too, am interested in what Eliot Spitzer has to say about this whole mess! Afterall, he was known as the Sheriff of Wall Street.....

Mar. 18 2009 10:06 AM
beth from princeton nj

no objections here to spitzer. good for you for having the guts to get him on the show. just because he screwed up his personal life doesn't mean he doesn't have a mind and opinions worth considering.

Mar. 18 2009 10:05 AM
Suzanne from New York City

I'm very interested in what Mr. Spitzer has to say. And for what he did he's been justly punished, unlike the aforementioned Karl Rove - who's sins are far wider and deeper, both morally and legally.

Mar. 18 2009 09:59 AM
Gabrielle from NYC

i'm not on the up-and-up as to Mr. Spitzer's dealings while in office but i do know wall street didnt like him and that has to count for something. i think he's been bashed enough... let's listen to him and decide for ourselves...

Mar. 18 2009 09:41 AM
BL Moderator from Varick St. Studios

[[BL Moderator Writes:

We understand this is a controversial guest. That said, we want to do everything possible to ensure that this comments section remains a place for civil and productive discourse, relevant to the discussion taking place on the air (which doesn't start for an hour). So please keep that in mind as you post.

Also, know that listener services really is the best place to comment on programming choices - they can be contacted at 646.829.4000 or by emailing

Thanks for listening.
-BL Show-]]

Mar. 18 2009 09:20 AM
Pat from nyc

Elliot, we need you now more than ever. Go prosecute these Investment house gamblers, swindlers and money launderers. Get out of the dog-house, and get back to work. We need the Sheriff of Wall Street back on the job.

NOW we understand why you were targeted by the banking industry last March. If we had seen what was coming down the financial pike, we would have insisted that you remain the Governor.

Mar. 18 2009 09:17 AM
Mike from Manhattan from Manhattan

Brian, Where is your judgement? Eliot Spitzer betrayed the public trust - he disrupted out entire state government all because of his own desires knowingly doing something illegal that he knew would be a big deal were he to be caught. He also took money in the form of campaign contributions from regular people (including me) and then claimed that he couldn't pay it all back even though he is incredibly wealthy. People putting themselves before the public good because of their own greed and lust and you're asking their opinions on policy? What's next: Bernie Madoff discussing how we should handle the sex trade?

Mar. 18 2009 09:14 AM
D from NYC

YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! Seriously, why give this guy any air at all. What a joke. Brian - your show's stock just plunged!

Mar. 18 2009 09:06 AM
Susan from Long Island City, NY

I'm a tree-hugging bleeding heart liberal and foolishly tolerant of most people...but this is too much. Mr. Spitzer's opinions are no more welcome than Karl Rove's. What next Brian, The Hypocrites Roundtable? Shame on you.

Mar. 18 2009 08:00 AM
K from Mamaroneck

Was there really no one else you could have had on to comment on this? Weren't there a few dozen law professors in the area you could have called instead? Or Andrew Cuomo? Or Rudy Giuliani?

Mar. 18 2009 07:44 AM

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