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UPDATE: Report that N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer is linked to prostitution ring

March 10, 2008 | 11:33 am

The New York Times is reporting that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who rode to national prominence as a reform-driven state attorney general, has been implicated in a prostitution ring. Spitzer is reportedly making a public statement this afternoon, and we'll update as it unfolds.

Spitzer has had a tough year as governor, including revelations that his staff might have improperly used state assets to spy on state Sen. Joseph L. Bruno, the senate majority leader who had become Spitzer's main political opponent in Albany.

Spitzer had been a rising national political star for the Democrats. But if this story plays out and he indeed was involved in a prostitution ring, you have to wonder how much longer that star will glitter. Or, for that matter, how long it will be before the word "former" is inserted before "Gov. Eliot Spitzer."

UPDATE: Spitzer played a tangential role in the narrative of the Democratic presidential nomination fight. It was he, you'll recall, who raised ...

... the possibility of granting driver's licenses to immigrants regardless of whether they were documented, which became a recurring topic in the early candidate debates. A strong political backlash led Spitzer to drop the plan.

But he has been most noted for taking on powerful interests, such as insurance companies.

UPDATE II: Spitzer's press announcement was short and sweet and devoid of details. Without specifying what he was talking about -- but the context was clear -- Spitzer apologized to his family. "I have acted in a way that violates my obligation to my family.... I must now dedicate my time to regain the trust of my family."

He also apologized "to the public, and I promise better. I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good and doing what is best for the state of New York." Spitzer also said he "failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself." He took no questions.

-- Scott Martelle

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