The New York Times Leads the Anthony Weiner Editorial Backlash

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Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Anthony Weiner first publicly expressed interest in the mayoral race with a self-reflective profile in the New York Times Magazine that presented him and his wife Huma Abedin as a couple that had weathered hardship and prevailed, just as he hoped his damaged political career might do. Weiner appeared chastened and humbled, and Abedin had forgiven him, as we all might. After Tuesday's revelation that Weiner was dabbling in cyber sex through last fall, The Times published another first:  It led the city's dailies in calling for Weiner to drop out of the race. A Tuesday night editorial said the "serially evasive Mr. Weiner should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye, away from cameras, off the Web and out of the race for mayor of New York City."

The Times is not alone in its opinion: About an hour after its editorial went live, The New York Daily News published one with a similar sentiment: "He is not fit to lead America’s premier city. Lacking the dignity and discipline that New York deserves in a mayor, Weiner must recognize that his demons have no place in City Hall."

The Wall Street Journal joined in the chorus, calling on Weiner to drop out and dragging in Eliot Spitzer for good measure: "The good news in Mr. Weiner's case is that he has exposed his caldron of inner demons during the campaign. Mr. Spitzer may not unleash his furies again until he's back in power."

The Post hasn't chimed in yet, but it's a pretty safe bet they'll be in the anti-Weiner camp as well. Probably even more shrilly.

Neither The Daily News's nor The Journal's offended editorial has become quite the viral favorite that The Times' has, partly because it was first, partly because it's The Times (with all the heavy-hitting endorsement potential that implies), and partly because it was riddled with quotable lines. It bemoaned "another woman’s story, another round of sex texts, and another picture of Mr. Weiner’s penis." And it pointed out, "the timing here matters, as it would for any politician who violates the public’s trust and then asks to have it back." Suffice it to say, if Weiner does stay in this race, he can count out that endorsement with a vengeance.