On Thursday night’s edition of “The Colbert Report,” host Stephen Colbert interviewed former New York governor and candidate for New York City comptroller, Eliot Spitzer. The host grilled the former governor about the sex scandal that led to his resignation and about the current slate of New York City elections.
“Eliot Spitzer could very well be New York City’s next comptroller,” Colbert said before bringing Spitzer out. “Do you have any idea what that means?! I don’t! Because what the hell is a comptroller?”
He then welcomed Spitzer to the stage and asked him exactly what a comptroller is.
“This is actually a hugely important position,” Spitzer said. “You control or have a say in the investment of over $140 billion of pension dollars, the pensions for over four million municipal workers. You oversee the city budget. You do audits to determine that the tax dollars we spend are used for the purpose for which they’re allocated.”
Given the importance of the position, Colbert said, “Shouldn’t it go to someone who has shown a modicum of self comp-trol?”
He was alluding to Spitzer’s dalliances with prostitutes when he was in office, indiscretions that came to light in March of 2008.
Spitzer laughed and gave Colbert an “Aw, shucks” grin.
“Why should the people trust you?” asked Colbert.
“Based on the totality of the record,” Spitzer said. “Many years as attorney general, doing things with respect to capital markets that relate directly to the office of the comptroller.”
“Attacking Wall Street?” Colbert asked.
Spitzer said that he was one of the few people warning about the approaching financial crisis in 2000 and 2001, and cited his attempts to impose some regulations on the market, to which Colbert replied that capitalism doesn’t work that way.
“You’ve got to cut the strings and fly, baby,” he said to Spitzer.
“The reality is that our understanding of markets was flawed,” the former New York Attorney General said. “Markets do not work unless you have an umpire. You cannot the linesmen on the football team call the holding penalty. You cannot let Wall Street firms get away with this thing called self-regulation. It will lead to another cataclysm.”
Watch the video, embedded below via Comedy Central: