Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the wife of embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner is known around Washington for her poise and exquisite style. Her poise will be tested as she deals with the fallout from Weiner’s admission of sending inappropriate messages to several women over the internet. As Nia-Malika Henderson reported:
Huma Abedin, the wife of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), has for years drawn notice in Washington. In a town that demands conservative conformity, she has been seen as a high-powered professional with exotic beauty and a closet full of Prada suits and heels.
As the controversy surrounding Weiner, 46, has heightened in recent days, Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has not missed a day of work, said people close to Abedin. Late Tuesday, she boarded a plane to Africa for a week-long, four-country visit.
Over the past 15 years, Abedin, 35, has been a fixture in Clinton’s inner circle. She began as an intern, rose through the ranks as an aide to the then-first lady when Bill Clinton was in the White House, worked for Hillary Clinton in the Senate and then again served as an aide during Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Abedin is one of the few Clintonites to remain an insider from the White House to the State Department. In briefings, it is Abedin who quietly hands Clinton a glass of water when her voice breaks.
On the campaign trail in 2008, as Clinton ran for the presidency, Abedin was her poised confidante, a steady presence in a campaign punctuated by dramatic ups and downs.
While her official title is deputy chief of staff, Abedin is personally close to Clinton, an ever-present assistant and gatekeeper. She oversees planning and scheduling and advises on politics and policy, especially the Middle East.
“I have one daughter. But if I had a second daughter, it would [be] Huma,” Clinton said at a pre-wedding celebration for Abedin and Weiner in 2010.
Huma’s absence at her husband’s tell-all press conference Monday could signal an end to the trend of political wives standing by their husbands as they disclose misdeeds. As Reliable Source explained:
Her absence at his side may signal the end of the humiliating stand-by-your-man appearance by political wives.
The agonizing spectacle was once a given: The erring husband appeared before the media, supportive spouse at his side as cameras rolled and reporters shouted questions. Could Wendy Vitter have looked more miserablewhen Davidadmitted he was caught up in the D.C. madam scandal? No, and yet she told reporters, “Last week, some people very sympathetically said to me, ‘I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes right now.’ I stand before you to tell you very proudly I am proud to be Wendy Vitter.” Watching Silda Spitzer’sdowncast eyes as Eliot confessed to sex with call girlswas uncomfortable at best. Dina McGreevey, in a demure, powder blue suit, stood close as Jimannounced to the world he was gay.
Even Hillary Rodham Clinton did it, appearing on “60 Minutes” saving his 1992 presidential campaign when she reassured voters about Gennifer Flowers and other rumors of Bill’swomanizing. “I’m not sitting here as some little woman ‘standing by my man’ like Tammy Wynette,” she said. “I’m sitting here because I love him and I respect him, and I honor what he’s been through and what we’ve been through together.”
Rep. Weiner is fighting for his political survival after first denying, then finally admitting to sending photos and messages to several women. As Karen Tumulty and Paul Kane reported:
Although he pledged to stay and fight, Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner’s political survival was in question Tuesday as the leaders of his own party continued to distance themselves from the disgraced New York lawmaker and as Republicans persisted in calling for his resignation.
In an ominous sign of Weiner’s prospects, Sen. Harry M. Reid (Nev.), the highest-ranking Senate Democrat, refused to defend Weiner, quipping that his advice to the congressman, if sought, would be: “Call someone else.”
“I wish there was some way I can defend him, but I can’t,” Reid said in a sentiment that echoed throughout Capitol Hill.
Meanwhile, Republicans were flatly calling for Weiner to step down. “Congressman Weiner and his constituents will make that decision,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.). “I certainly don’t condone his activity, and I think he should resign.”
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