Can Anthony Weiner survive?

The humiliated Democrat insists his sexting scandal won't cost him his seat in Congress, even as prominent pols call for him to resign. Can Weiner really salvage his career?

Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-N.Y.) mea culpa on Monday inspired calls for the congressman to resign over his sexting scandal.
(Image credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) says he won't resign over his sexting scandal, but the jury is still out on whether he has much choice in the matter. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has formally requested a House ethics investigation of Weiner's conduct, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and other top Republicans have called on him to resign. Even Tim Kaine, the former head of the Democratic National Committee, says Weiner should step down. New York City voters, meanwhile, are almost evenly split on the issue. What are the odds Weiner stays in Congress?

It looks pretty grim for Weiner: There's a good chance that what we know about Weiner's transgressions is "just the tip of the iceberg," says Dan Amira at New York. The ethics investigation will probably turn up new revelations that "further titillate and disgust us," and if not, the media will certainly dig up more dirt. But the most ominous sign is that party leaders don't have his back. With few friends in Congress, it's probably "only a matter of time before Weiner smells the roses" and resigns.

"Can Weiner survive?"

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His odds are improving: I wasn't willing to "place a lot of my money on Weiner's political longevity," until Cantor chimed in, says Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. "Almost as a rule, folks in the opposite party only call for resignations after they're relatively sure it's not going to happen." If the GOP has decided it's time to start attacking Weiner over the scandal, he's probably "going to hold on longer than I might have thought."

"The R word"

He'll survive... if there are no more scandalous details: Charges that he misused office equipment, even by talking dirty on his congressional phone, are too "boring" to bring Weiner down, says Garance Franke-Ruta at The Atlantic. But if one of his sexting partners was a minor, or a prostitute, Weiner is toast. If, on the other hand, "he confessed everything" there is to confess, then there's really no crime, and not even that much of a scandal. In that case, this story "reached its narrative climax" with his press conference, and Weiner can hang on.

"How Anthony Weiner could survive"

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