The Note: Eliot's Mess

"However devastating this is for the Spitzer family, it can't exactly be good news for the Clinton campaign," Katharine Q. Seelye writes in The New York Times. "One is the human level of family anguish for the Spitzers. For Mrs. Clinton, it has to be a painful reminder of her own family saga. On the political level, the intense focus on the drama in Albany may divert attention and sap energy in New York State, Mrs. Clinton's home base."

Clinton, so far, is no-commenting. "It was a blow to Clinton, who recently had intensified her criticism of rival Barack Obama's relationship with Antoin 'Tony' Rezko, a political patron on trial in federal court in Obama's hometown of Chicago for alleged fraud and corruption," AP's Beth Fouhy writes.

"While not personally close, Clinton and Spitzer have been friendly colleagues since the former first lady first ran for the Senate in New York in 2000. Her aides said Clinton deeply respected Spitzer's work during his two terms as state attorney general, where he became a national crusader against corporate corruption and Wall Street investment excesses."

The real damage comes with laughter. No. 1 on Letterman's Top 10 list of Spitzer excuses Monday night: "I thought Bill Clinton legalized this years ago."

And the political blowback has begun: "The National Republican Congressional Committee called on five Democratic candidates in swing districts in New York to disavow Mr. Spitzer and return donations he made to their campaigns. The messages also included photographs of the Democratic candidates appearing alongside Mr. Spitzer at public events," Nick Confessore writes in The New York Times.

Confessore continues, "Advisers to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Democratic candidate for president, watched the news unfold with morbid fascination, according to one campaign official. Some felt sorry for the governor, the official said, and some did not, recalling how Mr. Spitzer's controversial plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants caused Mrs. Clinton to stumble on the campaign trail last year."

Even the location of the alleged tryst brought its own (uncomfortable) historical memories. "In selecting the Mayflower, he chose the same hotel believed to have been used for assignations by John F. Kennedy, and the very place where Monica Lewinsky stayed when she testified about her tryst with Bill Clinton," The Washington Post's Dana Milbank writes. "A couple of blocks in either direction are the Jefferson, where Clinton adviser Dick Morris met a prostitute, and the Westin Grand, where defense contractors were said to have provided prostitutes to government officials."

Quick resolution is the option Camp Clinton most desires -- even the juiciest of tabloid stories need oxygen, and a resignation would take most of the air out of Room 871. It's hard to imagine Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., hoping to get much traction with attacks based on Clinton's associates -- but this is one of those cases where the scandal speaks rather sufficiently for itself.

And it comes as Obama starts to learn to speak up for HIMself. He's grown tired of this condescending talk of a "dream ticket": with his 111-delegate lead, it's he who should be in the position of making suggestions of offers, he told Camp Clinton on Monday.

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