Was Spitzer Destined to Fall?

A lurid sex scandal ends the brash, ambitious career of New York's governor, but the clues to his demise go years back

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times/Redux

Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York during a news conference in New York on Feb. 27, 2008.

"His visage described discountenance." Eliot Spitzer wrote those words about a character in a short story for his high school literary magazine. The sentence was florid in an adolescent way — Spitzer was always something of an intellectual show-off. Jason Brown, a friend from those days, later told Spitzer biographer Brooke Masters that Spitzer might simply have written, "He was unhappy."

But Spitzer's rather poetic sentence seemed apt on March 12, as he resigned as governor of New York in a brief press conference, the culmination of a 48-hour melodrama sparked by revelations that...

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