Democrats, Donors, Clintons: Everyone's Mad at Weiner
Weiner spends the day apologizing, but it might not be enough to save him
After Rep. Anthony Weiner apologized for his digital indiscretions, she demanded, "How can you explain that somebody can be so smart but so stupid?" The outraged woman on the phone call was not Weiner's wife, but Rep. Nydia Velázquez, a fellow New York Democrat. Her reaction reflected the shock and anger many of Weiner's Democratic colleagues felt as the congressman spent the day after his humiliating press conference apologizing to them, The New York Times' Michael Barbaro and David W. Chen report. Some House Democrats worry that more embarrassing revelations are still to come. If Weiner stays in his seat, he will do it without many allies, as his donors, colleagues, and even the Clintons are mad at him.
While Republicans have called on Weiner to quit, so far most Democrats have not done so explicitly. But they're not defending him either: When asked whether Weiner should resign, Velázquez responded by saying, "The most important thing in this business is credibility." Likewise, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "I wish there was some way I can defend him, but I can't." Bill Clinton, who is close to Weiner's wife, an aide to Hillary Clinton, is "deeply unhappy" with Weiner's behavior, the Times reports. The Hill's Mike Lillis reports that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is especially annoyed, having promised in 2006 to "drain the swamp" following several embarrassing scandals, including Mark Foley's dirty instant messages to congressional pages. And Weiner doesn't have many allies to talk down angry colleagues: A former aide to House Democratic leaders told Lillis, "There was no Anthony Weiner base."
More worrisome for Weiner: some Democrats have talked to former city councilman Eric Gioia to see if he'd be interested in launching a primary campaign against Weiner. Gioia is open to the idea. Though the 2012 election is a ways off, the House ethics investigation into Weiner's conduct could last several months, keeping the memory of the scandal fresh for any opponent to capitalize on.
Weiner's campaign donors are furious because Weiner assured them that the underwear Twitter photo that started it all was the product of a "vast right-wing conspiracy." He assured them "Everything is going to be fine." One donor said, "I'm just hoping this doesn't get worse."
Still, Weiner hasn't budged. When surprised by reporters Tuesday night, Weiner again insisted he's not going to quit.