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TODAY   |  March 27, 2013

Gen. Petraeus: ‘I am regarded in a different light’

For the first time in the nearly five months since his sex scandal broke, General David Petraeus is back in the spotlight, asking for forgiveness at an event at the University of Southern California, saying his life “can and must go on.” NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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>>> new this morning, an apology from former general david petraeus in his first speech since resigning as cia director or an extramarital affair . nbc's jim miklaszewski is at the pentagon with details.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. after a stellar 37-year military career and brief stint at the cia, his was one of the most stunning falls from grace in washington history. at the university of southern california in his first speech since the scandal, david petraeus has started his comeback. for the first time in nearly five months, david petraeus walked back into the public spotlight. the most famous army general of our time stepped out to try to reclaim his career and reputation.

>> i join you keenly aware that i am regarded in a different light now than i was a year ago. i'm also keenly aware that the reason for my recent journey was my own doing.

>> reporter: this leader of men who once commanded authority was now asking for forgiveness.

>> please allow me to reiterate how death penaltily i y lily -- how deeply i regret and apologize for the circumstances that led to my resignation from the cia and caused such pain for my family, friends, and supporters.

>> reporter: it was a front page sex scandal that forced petraeus to give up his post as director of the cia . . the other woman was paula broadwell. like petraeus , she was a won't gradua -- west point graduate who made trips with petraeus when he was commander of u.s. forces in afghanistan and wrote a book about the four- star general . petraeus has insisted, however, the affair did not begun until after he left the military.

>> there's often a view that because an individual was a great soldier he or she will naturally do well in the civilian world. in reality, the transition from military service to civilian pursuits often is quite challenging.

>> reporter: can petraeus ever recover?

>> can he go on and have an incredibly productive career? yes. can he go on as if nothing ever happened and become president and get people to forget paula broadwell? no.

>> reporter: now, sounding again like the commanding general , petraeus vowed to fight on.

>> life doesn't stop with such a mistake. it can and must go on.

>> reporter: it's not clear where general -- former general david petraeus goes from here. a book is probably in the works. but his broad base of supporters insist don't count him out, matt.