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Eliot Spitzer campaign ad admits he 'failed'

Former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer speaks

Former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer speaks to the media in Union Square as he gathers signatures to be a candidate for comptroller in Manhattan. (July 8, 2013) Credit: Charles Eckert

City comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer Monday unveiled a new campaign ad, admitting that he "failed" by becoming involved in the prostitution scandal that forced him from the governor's seat in 2008.

"Look, I failed. Big time," he says at the start of the 92-second ad to run on network and cable television channels. "I hurt a lot of people. When you dig yourself a hole, you can either lie in it the rest of your life or do something positive."

The spot will be rotated into a $450,000 ad buy that began last Saturday, Spitzer's spokesman, Hari Sevugan, said. Spitzer is financing his campaign with his family's real estate fortune.

"Everyone, no matter who you are, deserves a fair shot," Spitzer says in the ad, which underscores his record as "sheriff of Wall Street."

A statement responding to the spot from the spokeswoman for Spitzer's rival in the race, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, played off its opening line.

"Eliot Spitzer's real failure was a governorship that left Albany more broken than when he arrived," Audrey Gelman said. "It's clearer and clearer that for Eliot Spitzer, this campaign is not about the needs and struggles of New York's middle class -- it's all about Eliot Spitzer."

Meanwhile, Stringer received a boost Monday from three women's rights groups that applauded his record while lambasting Spitzer's. He also was endorsed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

The National Organization for Women's New York City chapter, Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice New York, in endorsing Stringer, said they would put boots on the ground and use independent spending for him.

"Eliot Spitzer thinks he's above the law. He thinks one set of rules apply to him and one set applies to the rest of us," NOW-NYC president Sonia Ossorio said. "I believe we can do better."

Ossorio spoke at a news conference in Union Square that denounced Spitzer almost as much as it lauded Stringer, the Manhattan borough president.

Spitzer senior strategist Miriam Hess in a statement responded, "While we have a deep respect for the organizations and individuals involved, we know that endorsements don't vote, voters do. No one has a better record on reproductive and women's rights than Eliot Spitzer."Stringer at the news conference said he has built a diverse coalition because, "We cannot have a city only run by men who look like me."

The three groups said they endorsed Stringer for his support of women's right to choose, paid sick days, anti-stalking legislation and domestic violence awareness campaign. They said they will knock on doors, distribute voters' guides, host fundraisers and otherwise spend for Stringer.

Meanwhile, the city Board of Elections deadline to submit detailed objections to Spitzer's petition to get on the ballot passed Monday, with the only challenger withdrawing his filing. Republican strategist E. O'Brien Murray said he withdrew because those he expected to finance the court case "were too concerned with retribution from Spitzer."

Murray said he still believes Spitzer is a "flawed candidate."

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