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Posted at 05:02 PM ET, 11/09/2012

David Petraeus and other political sex scandals: What does it take to kill a career?

Petraeus with his wife Holly at his military retirement ceremony last year. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
The abrupt resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus over an extra-marital affair (sorry, no lurid details for you yet) prompts a review of the Reliable Source archives on political sex scandals. How bad does a sex scandal have to be to ruin a career? Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, David Vitter, Anthony Weiner: Examples of some of the many pols (are they always men?) who got caught fooling around and suffered very different fates.

Why? One expert thinks it has more to do with the novelty of the sex and the size of the media market than the damage done to one’s vows.

Meanwhile, the sagas of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich prompted questions of whether adultery is still a deal-breaker in politics — or as forgiveable as divorce has become.

One more burning question: Will we see Holly Petraeus standing by her man at a press conference? Because that scenario seems to be going out of style.

Read earlier: Political sex scandals: Who survives, who crashes and burns?, 6/5/11

Herman Cain affair: Adultery still a political dealbreaker?, 11/29/11

Political wives increasingly skip the confessional press conference, 6/6/11

2011: The year of the sex scandal, 12/22/11

Looking for Friday’s Reliable Source? Start here: Congress’s Class of 2012: Which freshmen reps will provide an interesting story?

By  |  05:02 PM ET, 11/09/2012

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