How Anthony Weiner can recover from scandal
New York Rep. Anthony Weiner is facing a political mess of epic proportions. After admitting Monday that he'd lied about an explicit photo sent via his Twitter account recently -- that it was actually a photo of his own crotch that he'd sent to a woman -- he now faces a possible ethics investigation into his actions.
Can he possibly recover from the scandal?
On "The Early Show," CBS News Political Analyst John Dickerson said Weiner has to begin mending fences with two important groups: his Democratic colleagues and his constituents.
The best way to work on the relationship with his colleagues, Dickerson said, is to "go away, to have this story stop being a distraction, and to stop being a punchline."
"That requires, of course, that there be no new disclosures," Dickerson said.
As for his constituents, Dickerson said Weiner "has to stick to his knitting."
Dickerson said, "(Weiner) has to stay out of the public spotlight and hope that they forgive him."
Co-anchor Chris Wragge remarked that Weiner didn't get any support from his colleagues at his news conference, at which he admitted he'd had "inappropriate" telephone and e-mail conversations with six women over three years.
Dickerson said it's to be expected that others will not stand in solidarity with him. In fact, it was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who immediately called for an investigation into Weiner's actions.
He added, "(Weiner's) hope has to be that they don't continue talking about him to reporters, and that he gives them no cause to -- that there are no other shoes to drop, that everything he said in public checks out. And that the ethics investigation finds out that he broke no actual rules."
Weiner told reporters at the news conference he didn't break any laws and will not resign from office.
But can he be believed?
Dickerson said, "He said he didn't break any rules, but he said a lot of things in the previous week that didn't turn out to be true. We don't know -- it doesn't seem at the moment that he broke any rules, but the investigation will find out."
Dickerson said there will be "a difficult moment" when a report on the ethics probe's findings is released and (Democrats have) to "engage in the icky story again."
Dickerson said, "If that's the only time they have to deal with it, he may be able to find a path where he can be an embarrassment to the party and let them go back to what they wanted to do, and particularly, if all that can happens before next year's election year, then he might have a chance to survive."
A rising star in the Democratic Party particularly, Dickerson said, "for his mouth," Weiner will no longer be the spokesperson for the party's liberal wing, Dickerson observed.
"He no longer will be able to do that for a long period of time until this blows over," Dickerson said. "That may be many, many years if he survives."
The White House probably isn't unhappy that Weiner's won't be such a spokesman anymore, Dickerson said, adding, "He was often very critical of President Obama."
As far as the rest of the party goes, Dickerson said Weiner's survival depends on how the Democratic leadership treats him and the ethics investigation.
He explained, "Republicans can make the charge that Democrats are allowing this to continue when they really should find some way to be done with him. But there's a small problem for Republicans, if they want to press this -- is that people want to look away from this ickiness. And if you're the person pushing that they be forced to look at it, that can sometimes have a political downside."
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