Spitzer Consumed By His Own Promise

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer speaks during a news conference in Albany, N.Y., Feb. 27, 2007. News of Spitzer's involvement in a prostitution ring was a stunning turn of events for a politician who built his legacy on rooting out corruption.
AP Photo/Mike Groll
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Surely Eliot Spitzer, the crusading prosecutor who seemed to revel in public intimidation and humiliation, must have thought at some point that if he got caught there would be little or no mercy.

So today the only empathy you'll find is for the governor's family. It is sad, really, but I've seen it before. I was the reporter for CBS News who stood in a hotel meeting room in Denver twenty years ago to report on Gary Hart's decision to withdraw from the presidential race. Hart was brilliant -- a shoe-in for the nomination. A comet racing through the political heavens.

The same could be said for Eliot Spitzer. He rocketed to the governor's mansion. People said he might have been the first Jewish president. Years ago in a piece in Sports Illustrated about players who soared and then flamed out, I read this phrase, and will never forget it. I think it applies perfectly here:

"They were consumed by their own promise."

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.