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Day After Apology Newsom Goes Back To Business

The day after admitting to having an affair with the wife of his ex-aide, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom says he will continue with the business of the city.
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The day after admitting to having an affair with the wife of his ex-aide, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said he will continue with the business of the city.

SLIDESHOW: Key Players In Scandal

Newsom canceled an interview Friday with NBC11's Traci Grant that had been planned for more than a week, according to Grant, but he did attend a Black History Month event at noon where he received a warm welcome.

Newsom also followed through with a planned public appearance Thursday night.

The Thursday event to swear in Phil Ting as the city's assessor-recorder was attended by just about every Bay Area news department.

The mayor joked about feeling uncomfortable perched at the top of the stairs behind the podium saying, "I can tell you this is very awkward."

Earlier in the day, Newsom issued an apology after admitting to having an affair with Ruby Rippey-Tourk, who is the wife of his top aide Alex Tourk. Ruby Tourk was Newsom's appointment secretary at the time of the affair.

Alex Tourk resigned the day before, after confronting the mayor about the affair, according to NBC11.

"Thank you all for coming here on short notice. I want to make it clear that everything you've heard and read is true," Newsom said. "I am deeply sorry about that. I hurt someone I care deeply about, Alex Tourk, his friends and family. That is something I have to live with and something that I am deeply sorry for."

READ: Complete Statement

Newsom said that he held himself accountable and will work hard to rebuild the trust of San Franciscans.

READ: Reporter Ethan Harp's Blog

Tourk's wife reportedly confessed to the affair as part of a substance abuse program.

Tourk and Newsom were close and often socialized outside of work, according to NBC11.

The affair was reportedly short-lived and happened about a year and a half ago, during the mayor's divorce proceedings with his then-wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Guilfoyle has since remarried and works as a Fox legal analyst in New York City.

SLIDESHOW: Images Of Guilfoyle, New Husband

Political observers said the divorced mayor's effusive apology, which came only hours after the story broke, may have helped defuse a scandal that threatened to haunt his bid for re-election in November.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Newsom campaigns and the city of San Francisco and its residents," Tourk said in a statement released Wednesday. "However, for personal reasons, I must resign my position as campaign manager of the mayor's re-election campaign."

Newsom said he accepted the resignation with great sadness.

Some Bay Area residents submitted their thoughts to NBC11:

"The only issue I want to bring up that hasn't been mentioned is the fact that Alex Tourk's wife was the person who was unfaithful. She's the one who made the decision to end her marriage. Even if Mayor Newsome was the instigator, she should of (stet) thought about her husband and child. I guess this is why the divorce rate is so high in this country, because people just turn a deaf ear when they hear their wedding vows," Ed Bustos said.

"It happens. What's the big deal? Just because he's an official, it's news. Aren't there more important things to do than to worry about an affair that is long over? Get on with the business at hand. Good grief," wrote Karen Littleton.

"Does this mean he needs a new assistant? If so, I'm available!" from Nick in San Francisco.

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Senate President pro Tem Don Perata said Thursday that Newsom can politically survive the scandal.

"So-called sex scandals or affairs of the heart come up in almost everybody's political life. The governor had to face that, other people have faced it, and you just move on," Perata said.

Perata said that most people are not interested in the private life of the mayor. He added that people are interested in his political and public work, and he thinks Gavin has done a fine job.

"People make judgments and then they either forget or they hold it against you. I just think it's very unfortunate that you have people around you who are allegedly your allies and close associates who drop the dime on you and go to the media. That is the bigger problem for Gavin Newsom. He has some people in his inner circle who do not want him to do well and that's the thing that bothers me the most," Perata said.

Perata said that the scandal "goes to the level of the spectacular tabloid kind of stuff."

"I would think the people who would hold this against him, already have a head start on not wanting to support him. I'm sorry that (the scandal) was made public. This is clearly something that should be done privately. I don't know anything other than what I read and I know not to trust much of what I read."

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown did not hold back comment.

"I don't think the public is terribly distracted. I think the public in many cases finds it rather entertaining that suddenly they have someone who's still alive holding public office," said Brown.

Since Newsom's February 2006 divorce from Guilfoyle, he has been linked to a series of women, including CSI star Sofia Milos. He also was reportedly dating a 20-year-old restaurant hostess.

The news of the alleged affair is in stark contrast to the first days as mayor of San Francisco. Newsom and Guilfoyle were once referred to as the "New Kennedys." At one point, the couple were pictured on the front page of Harper's Bazaar. The two were lying on the floor of the Gordon and Ann Getty mansion.

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