Let’s here it for those who disappear

Al Kamen
Columnist July 24, 2013

Let us pause for a moment to praise Larry Craig.

Remember him? After news broke of the Idaho Republican’s 2007 sex-sting arrest in a Minneapolis airport restroom, it took him all of five days to hold a news conference announcing he would resign his Senate seat.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

Contrast that with the painfully slow unfolding of the scandal tainting former congressman Anthony Weiner, who has stubbornly remained in the race for New York mayor amid the drip-drip of news about his naughty online exchanges with women who are decidedly not his wife. Hard to believe, but Weinergate is now two years old.

Weiner held a news conference Tuesday, in which he appeared shoulder to shoulder with his wife, Huma Abedin, the longtime Hillary Clinton aide de camp. There’s a Craig parallel here: He, too, appeared at a news conference flanked by his wife (the stand-by-your-man presser is a classic).

Both women appeared to wish the whole thing would go away. Suzanne Craig wore giant sunglasses and said nothing; Abedin said her husband’s mistakes were “between us and our marriage.”

One way to protect one’s privacy: Don’t run for public office.

Of course, Craig’s trespasses were of a different cast than Weiner’s. First, he was actually arrested. And second, the implication was that he was gay — perhaps an insurmountable challenge for a married devout Christian. Another disgraced politician who had the good sense to make a lightning-quick exit was Mark Foley (R-Fla.), the congressman who was busted for sending sexually explicit texts to an underage page.

While we’re giving kudos to the Slink Away Caucus, let’s throw in an ode to John Ensign (R-Nev.), who decided not to seek another Senate term after news of his own messy extramarital affair. He’s returned to veterinary practice back home.

Craig certainly had the option, however difficult, of standing his ground (with his signature wide stance, of course) and fighting the scandal. The standard remedy is an apology tour, a stint in the public woodshed, maybe some counseling.

Perhaps those guys who took the fast train out of town were simply old-school. Now, it’s become quite fashionable to seek a second act after embarrassing scandals — see Spitzer, Eliot and Sanford, Mark.

Still, all this praise for scandal-plagued pols who shun the spotlight runs counter to the Loop’s professional interests. We hope Weiner sticks around, if only for the pun-filled headlines.

Following back

President Obama might be the highest-profile world leader, able to draw crowds in the thousands when he travels abroad. But he’s not the best-connected among his elite set.

That honor goes to Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister.

Who?

To put it another way, if the globe’s heads of state were a senior class, Bildt would win the “Most Congenial” contest. (Maybe Obama could be “Most Popular.”)

Obama’s staggering 33 million-plus followers make him far and away the most followed, but @CarlBildt mutually follows 44 of his peers while @BarackObama follows only two, according to Twiplomacy, a study of Twitter use among heads of state conducted by the PR firm Burson-Marsteller.

See, it pays to be nice, even to the nerdy kids.

And other U.S. Twitter accounts are similarly unfriendly — @WhiteHouse follows only three world leaders, and @StateDept doesn’t follow any of its counterpart foreign ministries.

It’s also worth noting, according to the study, that Pope Francis still trails Obama in total number of followers (with @Pontifex accounts in various languages, he’s No. 2 in the group, with more than 7 million followers to Obama’s 33 million-plus).

Is Price a Belieber?

Seems Bill Clinton isn’t the only political fan of pop megastar Justin Bieber.

The former president and the Biebs bonded after video emerged of the teenage star urinating into a cleaning bucket at a New York restaurant, then angrily spraying cleaning fluid on a photo of Clinton and shouting, “[Expletive] Bill Clinton!”

Then the Canadian Scourge — as he’s been called — phoned and apologized to Clinton and promptly told us about it on Twitter:

“@billclinton thanks for taking the time to talk Mr. President. Your words meant alot. #greatguy.”

Now, thanks to Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), you’ve got a chance to snag some tickets and “come watch Justin Bieber perform” at a “family-friendly concert!” at Verizon Center on Saturday, Aug. 3, our invitation says. (“Family-friendly” apparently would preclude the bucket antics.)

“We have a few tickets left” for the naturally sold-out concert, the invite cautions, which you can get for $1,500 for one or $2,500 for two, “or if you have more kids who want to join, let us know and we’ll accommodate the family!”

Proceeds go to “Voice for Freedom,” Price’s leadership political action committee. So Bieber’s reaching across party lines?

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop
. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

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