That, however, may be wishful thinking.
In today’s politics, “the time frame to recuperate, recover and come back is much shorter than it used to be,” said Chris Lehane, a former Clinton White House official who now specializes in crisis management communications. “Generally speaking, though, you only get one bite at the apology apple.”
Adding another challenge to Weiner’s plan — and to the capacity of New Yorkers to forgive and move on — is the fact that another politician tarnished by a sex scandal, former governor Eliot L. Spitzer, is also attempting a comeback in the Democratic primary. Spitzer surprised the political world with an announcement on July 8 that he is running for city comptroller.
When the earlier scandal involving Weiner broke in June 2011, Abedin was pregnant. She gave birth to the couple’s son in December of that year.
By this year, Weiner was positioning himself for an audacious return to the spotlight.
In April, the New York Times Magazine profiled the couple in an 8,000-word story. It portrayed Weiner as a homebody and primary caretaker for his son — “going to the park with Jordan; picking up his wife’s dry cleaning and doing the grocery shopping; eating at his brother Jason’s two restaurants in the neighborhood” — who was also taking a serious look at returning to politics.
That article, according to the woman with whom he exchanged lewd messages, coincided with his last contact with her. “He reactivated his Facebook and asked me what I thought of it,” she told the Dirty.
Six weeks later, Weiner announced that he was running for mayor.
He has campaigned vigorously, at times citing his own challenges alongside those of former South African president Nelson Mandela and Franklin D. Roosevelt. But Weiner, in a dozen years in Congress, has a much slimmer record of achievement. He was known mainly as a verbal combatant on the House floor and on cable news channels.
At one point during the exchanges that were published by the Web site, the woman told Weiner that she had noticed him while he was in Congress and been attracted to him long before they met over the Internet. “Specifically your health care rants were a huge turn on,” she said.