News Column

Clintons Don't Like Weiner Comparisons

July 30, 2013

Bill and Hillary Clinton are angry New York mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner says his online sex scandal is like the Lewinsky affair, the New York Post reported.

In particular, the Clintons are incensed Weiner and his campaign aides are saying the apparent forgiveness and persistent support by Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, was like that of Hillary Clinton when President Clinton had an affair with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1998, the Post said.

Abedin is a close friend of Hillary Clinton's and was a longtime aide to her when she was secretary of state and, before that, during her campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election.

"The Clintons are upset with the comparisons that the Weiners seem to be encouraging -- that Huma is 'standing by her man' the way Hillary did with Bill, which is not what she in fact did," a top state Democrat told the newspaper.

They also don't like the parallels Weiner is making between Abedin and Hillary Clinton, the Democrat said.

"How dare they compare Huma with Hillary? Hillary was the first lady. Hillary was a senator. She was secretary of state," the official was quoted by the Post as saying.

Weiner and aides have explicitly referred to the Clintons as they privately seek to convince skeptical Democrats voters can back Weiner despite revelations a week ago he sent lewd online messages to at least three young women nearly two years after resigning from Congress, the Post said.

The latest disclosures clashed with Weiner's claims he had been rehabilitated after undergoing therapy and his suggestion such behavior had long ago stopped.

The new revelations about his online indicate the conduct continued until April, shortly before he announced his return to politics as a mayoral candidate.

Weiner resigned his House seat June 21, 2011, after admitting sending explicit sexual material to young women by Twitter.

Dee Dee Myers, a former press secretary in the Clinton administration, told the CBS News program "Face the Nation" Sunday she believed the chaos and tabloid titillation surrounding Weiner was "very painful" for the Clintons.

"Look, this isn't a story that anybody, particularly the Clintons, are happy to see splashed over the front pages and all over the news relentlessly," Myers said.

"If they could choose, they would certainly have Weiner get out of the race and Huma to get on with her life," Myers said.

Myers said later she hadn't spoken with the Clintons about Weiner's travails.

Weiner Campaign Manager Danny Kedem resigned Saturday over the latest disclosures.

The reported Clinton anger came the same day a poll indicated most likely Democratic voters want Weiner to withdraw from the mayoral race because of the latest revelations.

The poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University Wednesday through Sunday, found Weiner's support among likely Democratic voters plummeted to fourth place in the Democratic mayoral race, with 16 percent support, and 53 percent of Democratic primary voters said he should quit.

Weiner -- who before the re-emergence of his online "sexting" was the front-runner in many polls -- defiantly repeated Monday he would not leave the race, despite the mounting criticism of his campaign.

"I knew that revelations about my past private life might come back to embarrass me," Weiner wrote in a fundraising email.

"I never hid from that possibility. But I waged this campaign on a bet that the citizens of my city would be more interested in a vision for improving their lives rather than in old stories about mine."

In the poll, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn leads with 27 percent support, followed by public advocate Bill DeBlasio with 21 percent and former city Comptroller Bill Thompson with 20 percent.

In Quinnipiac's previous survey -- taken July 18-23, before Weiner confirmed he sent the additional salacious messages -- Weiner led Quinn by 4 percentage points among likely Democratic voters. He dropped 10 points since that poll.

"With six weeks to go, anything can happen, but it looks like former Congressman Anthony Weiner may have sexted himself right out of the race for New York City mayor," Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Director Maurice Carroll said.

"And with Wiener in free fall, it begins to look like a three-way race again," Carroll said.

The independent poll, which surveyed 446 likely Democratic primary voters, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

The Democratic primary will be held Sept. 10. If no candidate receives at least 40 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held three weeks later.




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Source: Copyright UPI 2013


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