Who had the worst week in Washington? Rep. Chris "Craigslist" Lee.

(David Duprey)
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

They just never learn.

Despite the abundance of sex scandals that have rocked Washington over the past few years, Republican Rep. Chris Lee decided it would be a good idea to respond to a Craigslist personal ad from a woman looking for single men in D.C. With a picture of himself. Shirtless.

Just as the well-oiled - ahem - sex-scandal machine was ramping up, the second-term congressman from Upstate New York (who, by the by, has a wife and a young kid) abruptly resigned his seat.

The speed with which the Lee Flee played out was the most remarkable element of the scandal - aside, of course, from the remarkably bad judgment in sending a half-naked picture to a woman you have never met.

Less than four hours after Gawker, an online gossip site, posted a story about Lee's flirtations, the congressman bowed out. The scandal was tailor-made for Twitter, where Lee's denial, reversal and resignation unfolded.

For average people - a.k.a. people less obsessive about political news than the Fix - Lee's political career had expired before they even knew it was ailing. In that, Lee may have outsmarted us all: He refused to dangle in the wind (or hike the Appalachian Trail) as late-night talk show hosts turned him into a punch line.

Still, Lee went from a promising member of the majority with a prized seat on the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday to an ex-congressman with a lot of explaining to do on Wednesday. (At least his Craigslist alter ego - a divorced lobbyist - may soon become reality.)

Chris Lee, for taking it off and then covering it up, you had the Worst Week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail chris.cillizza@wpost.com with your nominees.


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