Warning Signs

Why Spitzer Chose Paterson

So this is how one rises to power. When former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s top aides were deciding on a potential running mate during the winter of 2005, they were told current New York Governor David Paterson was a “hard partier,” reports the New York Post. Apparently this partying referred to “extramarital dalliances, past drug use, and a penchant for late-night clubbing,” but Spitzer never got the message because the aides passed it off as unimportant. This oversight was just one incident in a sequence of events leading to Paterson’s rise to governor and current state of disarray in the face of several scandals. According to a top Spitzer aide, Paterson wasn’t even on the list of potential lieutenant governors. After a month of unsuccessful attempts, Spitzer was getting desperate and Paterson, during a casual meeting, asked “Why not me?” Paterson, with 21 years of legislative experience, was thought to be a "known commodity" by Spitzer and his aides, who barely vetted him. Now things are different. A former Spitzer senior adviser writes in his upcoming memoir, “Eliot had been the starting pitcher who left the bases loaded with an inept reliever coming in.”