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Monday, March 21, 2005

Eliot, Michael and me....

Having spent the weekend completing my move to my "flat with a view," I planned to spend today taking care of various errands and packing for my three-week trip to the US. But that isn't quite the way it worked out.

About a week ago, a colleague had mentioned that it might be possible for him to arrange for a group of us from the Institute of Governance to attend a local Chamber of Commerce luncheon where New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer was the guest speaker; but there was no confirmation of this and so I dressed "down" this morning in my jeans and a polo shirt and went off to the office without a thought about attending the lunch.

But lo and behold, at noon my mobile rang and my colleague informed me that he would pick me up in a few minutes to head off to the Spitzer function. I try to beg off, but within a few minutes I found myself in the back seat of his Saab -- jeans, baseball cap and all -- heading for the lunch. As we entered the room full of "suits", the best I could do was joke about doing a Michael Moore imitation....

As for Spitzer, pretty impressive performance, and you can see why people are mumbling the phrase "presidential candidate" whenever he appears. This particular trip was sponsored by the "Friends of Ireland," and you can be certain that other trips are in the offing as more and more groups tried to become "friends of Eliot" over the next year or so. It is going to be interesting to see how Spitzer does against Pataki in 2006, and the extent to which he receives support from the corporate community that has provided him with so many opportunities to establish his populist credentials. If he scores a major victory against Pataki, you can be certain that he will be prominently mentioned for a run on the Democratic ticket in 2008 and/or 2012. It is also going to be interesting to see how much the Republican Party invests in the 2006 gubernatorial race in New York, for the defeat of Spitzer would certainly take a major opposition candidate out of play for at least a few years. At the same time, Spitzer is relatively young and the defeat at this point in his career would not be devastating. But as it is shaping up at the moment, this is a guy with a very bright future....

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