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The pundits are having a field day with Congressman Anthony Weiner’s admission that he had lied about sending sexually suggestive photos to several women over the Internet.
Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly said on his show Monday night that Weiner (D-N.Y.) had no choice but to admit guilt.
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“He had to confess,” he said. “His handlers said, look, the only shot you have to put this away is do what you did, make your statement, answer the questions and move ahead with your life. That’s the smart thing to do PR-wise. … But he had no choice. He had to do it.”
But O’Reilly also wondered how Weiner was going to “make it up” to his wife and the country and expressed his disgust over the whole scandal.
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“I hate this story,” he added. “I hate the fact that I have to report this to my audience tonight and to the world. You know this story makes the United States look bad.
Bob Cusack, managing editor of TheHill.com, agreed that Weiner’s “conduct is unbecoming of the House” but doubts that Weiner will get kicked out of his House seat.
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Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor of New York after his own scandal, involving prostitution, had several guests on his CNN show, In the Arena.
“Right now the Democrats are furious at this guy,” said James Carville, former campaign strategist for Bill Clinton turned TV commentator. “[House Democratic] Leader [Nancy] Pelosi is calling for an ethics investigation. … People are livid at him. My view on these kinds of things is, let the voters decide.”
Former New York Congressman Rick Lazio called the situation a “tragedy” for Weiner, both personally and professionally.
“But the fact is you have a situation where you have a member of congress who didn’t just fib at one point but had a plan and executed plan for over a week where he repeatedly lied and made up stories about this,” Lazio said. The honorable thing I think to do in this situation … is to put constituents first and get past this thing. Let him focus on his own personal challenges. …. The House is very embarrassed by this. Nobody’s going to kick Weiner out, but ultimately it will be up to his voters.”
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CNN’s Howard Kurtz, who also serves as Washington bureau chief for the Daily Beast, noted that the difference between Spitzer’s and Weiner’s situations is that Spitzer didn’t deny the situation over and over in the media.
“It was monumentally stupid because it becomes about the cover-up,” Kurtz said. “This was a riveting and yet revolting news conference. It was almost as if Anthony Weiner wanted to be flagellated by the press … to show that he could take it.”
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Dr. Drew Pinsky went on CNN’s John King USA to talk about the scandal too.
“You can just imagine the magnitude of the shame that comes rushing in when someone has to speak up publicly and admit to something that is as humiliating as this and will have such a profound impact on his personal life and his career,” Pinsky said. “My biggest fear frankly is that sometimes the crushing nature of the public scrutiny and the shame that goes with it can precipitate severe depression episodes, and some people can even become suidical. I would caution everyone to remind ourselves there is a man behind this.”
Meanwhile, Democratic strategist Paul Begala told John King that the Republicans are taking a smart approach by keeping quiet on the scandal so far.
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“They are finally listening to the Napoleonic axiom, which is, if your enemy is destroying himself, don’t interrupt,” he said. “Anthony Weiner cannot plausibly say this is a vast right-wing conspiracy, and today to his credit he said, ‘This is my fault,’ which it was.”
Marcia Kramer, chief political correspondent at WCBS-TV in New York, added on John King USA that she thinks Weiner’s chances at becoming mayor of New York are over.
“At this point there’s a feeling that that race may have passed him by,” she said, adding that his best hope is to get re-elected to Congress.
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