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weinergate

Can Weiner Survive?

Despite Anthony Weiner's belated decision to come clean in a surreal press conference yesterday afternoon, the steady drip of new revelations about his online dalliances with random female admirers has hardly ceased. Since then, we've met Weiner's phone-sex partner from Las Vegas. We've learned that Weiner offered PR advice and even wrote out a dishonest statement for porn star Ginger Lee, with whom he'd also exchanged messages. And we've found out that Weiner liked to pursue these flirtations while his wife, Huma Abedin, who works in the State Department, was on foreign trips. The Post juxtaposes their respective activities nicely:

On March 16, while Nevada Democratic volunteer Lisa Weiss says he was sexting with her on Facebook, according to RadarOnline.com, Abedin was with Hillary Clinton visiting Egypt and Tunisia, federal records show.

At each stop, while Weiner discussed whether Jewish women were adept at performing oral sex, Abedin helped Clinton consult with government officials and elements of civil society on recent events in the Middle East and the full range of regional and bilateral issues.

While the main purpose of these new revelations is to further titillate and disgust us gawking onlookers, they're important for another reason. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for an ethics investigation into Weiner yesterday shortly after the press conference, and based on what we already know — which may very well be just the tip of the iceberg (glans of the penis?) — and continue to learn, Weiner could be in more trouble than he thinks.

The Vegas woman says Weiner called from a congressional phone during their 30-minute phone-sex session. Weiner offered to "have someone on my team call" Ginger Lee with advice on handling the media — was he talking about his congressional staff? What other government resources did he use during these chats? Were any of the women he sent photos to underage? Weiner doesn't think so, but he couldn't know for sure. In short, there's a lot that an ethics investigation could look into.

And without the support of party leadership, political insiders believe it's only a matter of time before Weiner smells the roses. "The only question is how soon he realizes he has to go," a "prominent Democratic strategist" tells the Daily News. "He's finished. He should have resigned." The Huffington Post gathered some other pessimistic takes on Weiner's future:

Many of New York insiders contacted by The Huffington Post thought Weiner might revive himself, but only if there wasn't another graphic or lurid chapter to the scandal. That might be overly hopeful, they added, predicting a slow drip of damaging revelations that could last all summer in New York's already heated media market.

"He lied. He carried on a deception for a week in the national media," said one influential and disgusted New York Democratic operative. "He should be hounded out of office."

A fellow lawmaker was also pessimistic about Weiner's survival. "I don't think so," the legislator said of the congressman maintaining his post. "I think the leadership has already turned on him."

Most agree that the only thing Weiner has going for him is that, in New York, anything is possible. Charlie Rangel, for one, was found guilty of about a thousand ethics violations, and he was easily reelected.

Anthony Weiner will never be NYC mayor, says expert, as Nancy Pelosi demands probe of sext scandal [NYDN]
Anthony Weiner's Survival Chances Deemed Slim By Insiders, Experts [HuffPo]

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Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images