I got a Facebook message today from David Henry, who worked as a reporter for me about 25 years ago, before going off to New York and writing for Forbes or some such. It was a bit of a shock:
I got on the train this morning, opened the New York Post and there was your byline on the top of the lede story. That’s great. ‘ glad your having fun with this.
I don’t know about the having fun part, but he was right — I had the lede byline. I had no idea.
Yes, I did some free-lance work for the Post yesterday — I covered the governor’s press conference for them — but they watched it on TV up there, so I didn’t think the stuff I called in to them (and I made a number of calls for them and talked to Jake and all) added all that much. Maybe they just put me up there as an excuse to have a Columbia dateline on it. I certainly had nothing to do with any of the stuff at the top of the story (the “lust e-mails”). I didn’t actually WRITE any part of that story (as you can probably tell … my style is more, um, sedate). I had figured that at MOST I’d be mentioned at the end of the story…
(That’s actually my SECOND NY Post byline. But the first one I DID write, as you already know.)
So I was surprised at the play I got. The irony of this is, as Charles Bierbauer pointed out to me later, all those years busting my hump at The State, and more people saw that byline than ever saw it here when I was EPE.
That was not my only surprise the last day or so. I know I didn’t know what to expect when I went to the press conference, although there had been inferences — particularly in the First Lady’s remarks earlier in the week. In the phone conversation in which I agreed to help the Post, the guy in New York asked me, “Is this going to be a Spitzer moment?” I had no idea. And yet it was. Yes, things had pointed that way, and the odd exchange with Gina at the airport took things right to the brink… but the actual admission at the press conference was just surreal.
All through it, I kept thinking, “And the worst thing he could say next would be…” and then he’d say it. It’s like I was expecting it, but not expecting it. Hard to explain.
I’ll tell you this, though, as I said in a comment on a previous post — I’ve spent a good bit of time today talking to friends and former staffers of the gov, including some people whose judgment I respect a great deal, and there’s pretty general agreement that nobody thought THIS guy would do something like this.
Neither did I. I thought a lot of pretty harsh things about him, but not this.
This whole thing has just felt so weird.