Weinergate: Whose crotch was it and when did he know it?
How can anyone forget the look-at-my-abs bathroom mirror shot of a shirtless New York Rep. Chris Lee a while back? The Republican resigned his upstate seat. And Democrats just won it in a special election.
Now, there's New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. He's a Democrat. Somehow a photo of someone's bulging briefs was posted on Weiner's Twitter page seemingly aimed for a West Coast college coed.
The seven-term member seems to have taken as his PR role model the serial stumbles of the Obama White House following the successful whacking last month of Osama bin Laden: Tell your story ASAP. Then change part of it. Get part of it wrong. Make more mistakes correcting it. Blame the media. Having confused most people, announce you won't talk about it anymore, causing them then to wonder about everything,
This is the negative corollary of the Sarah Palin "One Nation" bus tour media strategy, which is "don't-tell-anyone-anything-then-they'll-want-your-story-all-the-more." Now that Weiner isn't talking about the underwear shot anymore, everyone else is.
At first, he said his Twitter account was hacked, that he didn't send the photo. But the United States congressman with a hacked communications account did not report it to the FBI, which seems odd if you are genuinely concerned and hacked. As the venerable Roger Simon points out here this morning, sending a lewd photo to an adult is not a crime. However, lying to a federal agent about it is.
The outspoken Queens Democrat, who had eyes on the New York City mayor's office, went silent Tuesday, talked endlessly about the issue Wednesday and then went silent again Thursday.
Many people with intimate knowledge of their own crotch began to wonder and chuckle over Weiner's wiggling response; he said he was unable to say "with certitude" whether it was his private area in the photo, which carried no credit line.
Classic political strategy, of course, strongly suggests that if you experience this problem for more than four days, you should consult your PR professional immediately.
He or she will tell you that whatever the issue or body part, you put every bad news detail out there yourself all at once, take your mortification, the late-night jokes and reboot. As our colleague James Oliphant writes here, political strategists are noting that Weiner has done just about everything wrong, for a politician who hopes to continue in that line of work.
Although if this was a TV season finale, the Weiner story is a great cliffhanger.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images (Weiner in elevator).