Silda Wall Spitzer is not standing by her husband Eliot's side while he campaigns for New York City comptroller, according to Tuesday's New York Times. She's "deeply conflicted" and "all but invisible" in his campaign, unlike another wronged New York political wife, Huma Abedin. Both women have been thrust into the spotlight again as their once-cheating husbands campaign for office, but Abedin's the one glowing in New York Magazine profiles. What's she doing right that Wall Spitzer is not?
Wall Spitzer and Abedin employed different PR strategies during their husbands' scandals — Wall Spitzer famously stood with hers while he apologized, while Abedin did not. Now Wall Spitzer's absent for her husband's resurrection, and Abedin's gotten right in there. The media seems to like Abedin's tactic more. Abedin opened up in April's Times Magazine story about her husband, Anthony Weiner, where she condemned his past behavior (sending illicit tweets), but made it clear that she'd forgiven him. New York's Mark Jacobson (kind of creepily) called her "the most cosmopolitan human being on Earth" and "this stellar woman, who could have married anyone" in a Weiner profile posted Sunday.
And as of Wednesday, Abedin's become one of Weiner's biggest fundraisers. Reports show she pulled in $150,000 for Weiner's mayoral campaign, using contacts from her job as an aide to Hillary Clinton.
Wall Spitzer, on the other hand, hasn't publicly campaigned for her husband in his comptroller race, and hasn't made any statements about it. According to The New York Times, she's been living in a separate apartment 18 blocks away from Spitzer and "privately preferring he had not chosen to run." The Times' Michael M. Grynbaum questions how this will affect Spitzer's chances:
Besides inviting uncomfortable questions on the trail, Ms. Wall Spitzer’s absence has deprived Mr. Spitzer . . . of the ally who could most potently make the case to voters that he has been rehabilitated: the woman whose ashen face at her husband’s resignation announcement remains a searing symbol of his ignominious downfall.
When news of Spitzer's involvement with a prostitution ring while he was governor of New York broke, Wall Spitzer was criticized for standing by her husband while he apologized. Now that she's not campaigning for him, she's "depriving" him. Apparently, Wall Spitzer's got the stages of forgiveness backwards, and for that, her husband's paying a price.
Abedin didn't stand by Weiner's side when he apologized for sending lewd photos on Twitter. But now, after a certain amount of time, she's publicly supporting her husband once again, and according to him, it's helping his campaign: "There’s none that have been more effective as an advocate, as an adviser, as a fund-raiser, as a nudge, than my wife."
Grynbaum goes on to say that Silda's "unwillingness to play the public role of forgiving spouse has complicated her husband’s message and added a dose of dissonance to a campaign that Mr. Spitzer had hoped would follow the familiar arc of political resurrection." It begs the question -- why? Why do we care whether or not Spitzer's wife has forgiven him? Should her feelings affect whether or not the voters forgive him?
Apparently, they don't. As of Tuesday, both Spitzer and Weiner are leading in the polls.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.