Spitzer on return to politics: ‘You need skin as thick as a rhinoceros’

Dylan Stableford
Yahoo! News
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Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor who resigned in 2008 following a prostitution scandal, says he made the decision to re-enter politics over the Fourth of July weekend, and that he knows his run for New York City comptroller—announced Sunday night—will reopen tabloid-torn wounds.

"You need skin as thick as a rhinoceros," Spitzer said in an interview on "CBS This Morning" on Monday. "Politics is a contact sport—it takes a toll."

"It was a difficult decision," Spitzer continued. "It reopens all of these issues."

The 54-year-old dismissed reports that he had recently separated from his wife, Silda Wall Spitzer. "Not true," Spitzer said.

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Still, he acknowledged his return to New York politics will be tough on his family, which includes three daughters ages 19 to 23.

"This is not a process for the faint of heart," Spitzer said in a radio interview with WNYC's Brian Lehrer. "We made this decision as a family."

He declined to directly address claims by Kristin Davis, the former madam and fellow comptroller candidate, that she provided him prostitutes. "I'm not sure those facts are correct," Spitzer said.

Spitzer is hoping voters will look at his record as attorney general and governor and not as the infamous "Client No. 9" that torpedoed his political career.

"I'm asking for forgiveness for my indiscretions of trust," Spitzer said, adding: "I have paid a price, I'll ask others to determine whether it's appropriate or not."

"There is forgiveness in the public," he said on CBS.

Spitzer admitted that while his path to redemption is similar to the one Anthony Weiner—the disgraced Congressman-turned-New York City mayoral candidate—is taking, his is different. "I will have to make a case that's different," to voters, Spitzer said.

"I've seen peaks higher than most people in politics, and I've seen valleys that are deeper," he said. "You learn more in the valleys."

Spitzer, whose public comeback from the prostitution saga has included a stint as a CNN host and his current role on Current TV, added: "The most satisfying thing for me has always been public service."