Opinion: N.Y. gov admits sexual affairs! No, the new guy. And his wife too.


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What is this? Some kind of weird job requirement to be the governor of New York? And the state’s first lady?

Last week, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned after his involvement was revealed in a very high-priced prostitution ring of the sort he once very publicly prosecuted as the state’s attorney general. That’s when we all met the different faces of Kristen, the nom de lit of the young woman the governor frequented.

Monday, the state’s lieutenant governor, David Paterson, took the oath of office as New York’s 55th governor with his hand on a Bible held by his wife, Michelle.

The 53-year-old politician, who is legally blind, became the state’s first African American governor. His good-natured introductory address was enthusiastically received by the joint session of the state legislature and an audience of friends and officials with highlights shown on national TV.


Hours later, the N.Y. Daily News was reporting that during a series of interviews in recent days, including a joint interview as inaugural celebrants roamed the halls of New York’s capitol, the new governor and his wife admitted to...

both having sexual liaisons with others during their 16-year marriage.

‘Like most marriages, you go through certain difficult periods,’ said the 46-year-old Michelle. ‘What’s important is for your kids to see you worked them out.’ The couple have two children, Alex and Ashley.

Earlier, Paterson had said: ‘This was a marriage that appeared to be going sour at one point. But I went to counseling and we decided we wanted to make it work. Michelle is well aware of what went on.’

What Michelle knows is that for two or three years, starting in 1999, Paterson had a relationship with another woman, whom he did not name. He denied rumors of having a child with that woman. Michelle also confirmed she had intimate relations with other men.

They both agreed to speak openly about their past relationships in recognition of the greater public and media scrutiny of a top state official and to address rumors about their personal lives and other relationships circulating in Albany since Spitzer announced his resignation and the new swearing-in was set.

Although it might seem strange coming on the immediate heels of a sex scandal that forced a governor’s departure, the candid interviews by the new governor are actually a very smart political move by Paterson, because they now inoculate him against such revelations in the future.

So he must be planning a long career as governor of the Empire State.

-- Andrew Malcolm