A Brief History of the Sex-Scandal Press Conference

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Photo: Credits below.

Anthony Weiner might have been train-wreck-compelling in his long press conference yesterday about his sexting misadventures, but his is just the latest in a long line of public apologies by politicians caught in a sex scandal. It's likely no one will ever top the one-two punch of Representative Wilbur Mills, who, upon being caught frolicking in the Tidal Basin with one Fanne Fox the Argentine Firecracker, followed up a wife-accompanied public mea culpa with a boozy impromptu press conference held onstage at a nightclub where Fanne was performing. Since then, the sorry-I-cheated presser has become a more regular occurrence. Below, a handy guide to telling some recent examples apart.


David Vitter:

How he described the infidelity: Distantly. "Past failings."

Special guests: Wife Wendy (speaking part)

Length: Fourish minutes

Did he cry?: No

Did he take questions?: No

Did he resign?: No


Photo: Getty Images

Eliot Spitzer:
How he described the infidelity: Circumspectly. "Private failings."
Special guests: Wife Silda (nonspeaking part)
Length: Sub-three minutes
Did he cry?: No, but there was a definite pucker of the mouth.
Did he take questions?: No
Did he resign?: Yes


Photo: Getty Images

Mark Sanford:
How he described the infidelity: Ramblingly, memorably. "That whole sparking thing."
Special guests: None
Length: Eighteen minutes
Did he cry?: Yes, plus he "spent the last five days of my life crying in Argentina."
Did he take questions?: Yes
Did he resign?: No


Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

John Ensign:
How he described the infidelity: Redundantly. "Last year, I had an affair. I violated the vows of my marriage."
Special guests: None. Not even a suit jacket or tie.
Length: Two minutes
Did he cry?: No
Did he take questions?: No
Did he resign?: No


Anthony Weiner:
How he described the infidelity: Bluntly. "I've exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years."
Special guest: Andrew Breitbart (unrequested speaking part)
Length: 27 minutes
Did he cry? Yes
Did he take questions? With gusto
Did he resign? No