BEHIND THE NEWS: Spitzer's off the hook

November 6, 2008 2:12:23 PM PST
We're told he's making a lot of money, doing business at his dad's real estate company. But we're also told he's bored, because making money isn't what gets his juices going. Politics and power do. Or did.

But the political option seems unlikely for former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer - even with the news today that he will not be criminally charged for using public or campaign funds to frequent a high-end prostitution ring. After it was disclosed that he visited prostitutes, he resigned from office a week later last March.

After months looking into the case, federal prosecutors say that "the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter."

The people who operated the call-girl ring have pleaded guilty to various charges. None of the customers have been charged. I suspect how people view that depends on their gender - but that's just a guess. I'd love to hear your perspective on this aspect of the Spitzer case. Send me an email by clicking HERE.

Spitzer today released this statement:

"I understand the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has decided that it will not bring criminal charges against me. I appreciate the impartiality and thoroughness of the investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office and I acknowledge and accept responsibility for the conduct it disclosed. I resigned my position as Governor because I recognized that conduct was unworthy of an elected official. I once again apologize for my actions, and for the pain and disappointment those actions caused my family and the many people who supported me during my career in public life."

One more note about the Spitzer case. The prostitute he saw was a young woman named Ashley Dupre. In the quote of the day, her attorney responded thusly to the U.S. Attorney ruling regarding Spitzer: "Ashley is pleased that this matter is behind her."

We'll have the latest on the Spitzer developments, tonight at 11.

We're also following the transition process of Barack Obama. Tonight the man he asked to be his Chief of Staff - perhaps the most powerful position in the White House, next to the President himself - has agreed to serve.

Rahm Emanuel is a Washington veteran -- and a ball of energy who knows how to fight, politically. He was a staffer in the Clinton White House, and then became a Congressman from Illinois. He's also a good friend of Obama's.

And interesting political reality in Congress: The Democrats may have gained seats in the House and Senate, but for the most part the Republicans who departed were rather moderate compared to those who stayed. How hard line will the remaining Republicans be in this so-called honeymoon period immediately after Obama takes office? We may have gotten a sneak peak today from House Minority Whip John Boehner, the Republican from Ohio. Responding to Emanuel's appointment, Boehner said, "this is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center."

Tomorrow, Obama will hold his first news conference. And on Monday, Obama and Pres. Bush will meet at the White House to talk about the war and the economy -- two issues, you might have heard, over which the two men disagree.

The Obama family will also get a tour of the White House.

Also at 11, our investigative reporter Sarah Wallace has the story of a family, faced with the loss of their home, after signing on with a patient advocacy group to help care for their ailing grandmother. The elderly woman was moved to an apartment, charged rent and home healthcare; and when she couldn't afford it, the family was forced to consider selling the home to pay the bills.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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