When we last left New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, he was retaining counsel to determine "what civil or criminal actions should be taken" against the hackers who posted a lewd image on his Twitter account. The problem seemed to be solved, and the fallout looked minimal. Then yesterday happened.
Weiner first found trouble during a bizarre late-afternoon press conference just outside the House chamber, where he stonewalled questions about whether he'd ask law enforcement to investigate the hacks and then refused to issue simple denials.
For those who didn't catch it, the complicated analogy Weiner repeatedly tries to use to justify not addressing the controversy anymore is:
"If I were giving a speech to 45,000 people and someone in the back of the room threw a pie or yelled out an insult, I would not spend the next two hours of my speech responding to that pie or that insult. I would return to what I want to talk about to the audience that I want to talk to."
Hypothetical pie throwing or not, even sympathetic political observers trashed Weiner's performance. Salon's Steve Kornacki said it was a "totally and completely out of character" effort from the usually press savvy congressman. "This evasiveness was notable," Kornacki continued, "as was the lack of Weiner's trademark swagger. It was an uncharacteristically defensive performance that seemed to go on and on, with forced attempts at humor and awkward efforts to change the subject to ... Clarence Thomas." At the Washington Post's The Fix blog, Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake called Weiner's conduct "odd."
Even after the harsh reactions to Weiner's public statement, Andrew Breitbart went on Fox Business's Follow the Money at 10 p.m. to predict Weiner would be given an easy ride by the liberal media. The Daily Caller picked out some of his more notable proclamations. "Look, there’s clearly a double standard with the mainstream media,” Breitbart said. “If this were a Republican, like Mike Lee or Larry Craig or Mark Foley, it becomes the single most important story in the history of the media for three weeks, for four weeks." He then switched topics, examining how Daily Show host Jon Stewart would or wouldn't cover the story at the top of the hour. "Let’s talk about media cover-ups,” Breitbart began. “Very few people know this, but Jon Stewart and Congressman Weiner were once roommates. I feel bad for Congressman Weiner because the double entendres are keeping this story alive to a great extent as well. Will comic genius Jon Stewart cover this obviously comedic rich territory when this used to be his old roommate?”
He did, and he really let him have it. "In real life, grinned Stewart, "my memory is this cat had a lot more Anthony and a lot less weiner." (Hey, it's a dirty-pun based scandal. Don't roll your eyes like that.)