Weiner: Are sex scandals no longer relevant?

Former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner is attempting a political comeback by running for mayor of New York City.

“Politics is full of second chances,” said Paul Steinhauser in CNN.com. Just ask Mark Sanford, the disgraced former governor of South Carolina, who won a seat in Congress last month despite turning the phrase “hiking the Appalachian Trail” into a euphemism for an extramarital affair. Now former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned in 2011 after tweeting lewd photos of himself to women he’d never met, is attempting his own unlikely political comeback, announcing a run for New York City mayor. The New York tabloids are gleefully mocking Weiner’s political return with an “endless stock of phallus puns,” said Maggie Haberman in Politico.com, but his run is no joke. With a $5 million war chest, the influential counsel of wife Huma Abedin—a former top adviser to Hillary Clinton—and a lackluster field of opponents, Weiner is already polling second for the Democratic nomination. If Sanford can make a comeback, why not Weiner?

Sanford and Weiner both had snicker-inducing sex scandals, said Karen Tumulty in WashingtonPost.com, but the similarities end there. Sanford owned up to his affair fairly quickly, never resigned, and left the governor’s office with approval ratings of 55 percent. Weiner lied about sending crotch shots until he had to quit in disgrace. Sanford’s return to politics came in a special election for a congressional seat, which meant a shorter campaign for a less prestigious job title. By contrast, Weiner is going into a prolonged battle to run the biggest city in America. Sanford also had a “redemption narrative” working in his favor, said Jill Lawrence in National Journal. Evangelical voters are a “powerful political force” in South Carolina, and they’re open to the idea of a sinner who confesses his wrongdoing and asks for forgiveness. New Yorkers are far more cynical: Their tabloids continue to call Weiner “a perv.”

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