When Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress two years ago over a sexting scandal, his then-pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, was nowhere to be seen.
Fast-forward to two years later, with Weiner now a candidate for mayor in New York City. He held a news conference on Tuesday to confirm that he sent more sexually explicit images and texts, allegedly under the pseudonym Carlos Danger, for as long as a year after his resignation. And there was Abedin, standing somewhat anxiously by his side.
Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, said the issue was "between us," and something they had worked through with lots of therapy. "I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him," she added.
The conventional wisdom is that Weiner, a Democrat, would have been able to survive the latest embarrassment if the lewd messages were sent before he quit Congress — but any post-scandal scandal means he's toast. It doesn't help that The New York Times reported this morning that Weiner began sending pictures of his crotch to the latest woman in question a mere week after meeting her online.
Can Abedin change the equation, and save him from political doom?
Her dignified appearance turned the Tuesday news conference into the best Weiner could have hoped for, under the circumstances. "She was not required to speak — the stand-by-your-man part is pretty self-explanatory — and given her history, few expected her to," says Zara Kessler at Bloomberg. "So when she did speak, she suddenly became the protagonist."
Still, Josh Voorhees at Slate says, "It's unclear if Abedin's turn as the Good Wife will be enough to right the ship for Weiner's campaign."
However, Abedin and Weiner may be playing a long game. Her support was something he absolutely had to have to salvage not only his chance to win, but perhaps his entire career. With Abedin's help, says Garance Franke-Ruta at The Atlantic, Weiner's political hopes remain alive. Now, even if he loses this time around, in his next campaign people will be more likely to see the tawdry sexting business as something the couple has put behind them.
If such a thought was part of the Weiner-Abedin strategy, they can check that box on their list. After today Anthony Weiner, strange as it may be to say, is one difficult step closer to his eventual comeback. [The Atlantic]
In that respect, perhaps Abedin is part of the problem. The New York Times notes in an editorial that she has been complicit in Weiner's comeback campaign, which has aired a lot of dirty laundry for the public.
It's difficult not to feel for Ms. Abedin. The couple deserved privacy as they worked through their problems — and they had it, until they re-emerged in public life and Mr. Weiner decided he was a good fit to run New York City. Mr. Weiner and Ms. Abedin have been saying that his sexual behavior is not the public's business. Well, it isn't, until they make it our business by plunging into a political campaign. [New York Times]