By MARC HUMBERT
The Associated Press
Monday, January 1, 2007; 1:07 AM
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Democrat Eliot Spitzer, vowing to "replace delay and diversion with energy and purpose," was sworn in as New York's 54th governor during a private ceremony at midnight Sunday at the governor's mansion.
"Day one has begun," Spitzer said to a resounding cheer after being sworn in. "It is a joy to be here. It will be exciting. I will do my best as the public has asked me to do."
U.S. District Court Justice Robert W. Sweet issued the oath of office. Sweet had last done so in 1984, when Spitzer served as his law clerk.
The ceremony took place in front of executive mansion's fireplace, where photos of former Gov. George Pataki and his family have been replaced with Spitzer family photos.
Taking over for three-term Pataki, who did not seek re-election and is eyeing a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, Spitzer inherits a state government facing significant future budget deficits and recent scandals that have caused, among other things, the resignation of the state Comptroller.
Spitzer, New York's two-term state attorney general who gained international celebrity by taking on major Wall Street institutions, won the governorship on Nov. 7 with a landslide victory over former state Assembly Republican Minority Leader John Faso.
A public inauguration ceremony was be held in a park outside the state Capitol on New Year's Day. The timing of the outdoor ceremony, a first for a governor's inauguration in New York, was shifted from noon to 1 p.m. in an attempt to avoid the cold rain that was forecast for Monday morning in Albany.
Also being sworn in was Democrat Andrew Cuomo, the elder son of former Gov. Mario Cuomo who was elected to replace Spitzer as attorney general. The younger Cuomo, who had served as federal housing secretary under President Clinton, had unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 2002.