By Andrea Tantaros
It’s the story that just won’t go away.
After almost a week, nagging questions still remain over whether or not New York Congressman Anthony Weiner sent an obscene picture of himself to a young college female via Twitter, or if he is the victim in what is turning out to be one of the most bizarre political scandals this country has ever witnessed.
The fact that journalists are still writing about this Congressman turned clown show can be directly linked back to Weiner himself, who, from day one has majorly mismanaged the saga.
From changing his story on whether or not it was a hack or a prank, to his sketchy behavior if it, in fact, was a hack job to the combative media exchanges, "Weinergate" has become a clear case study on what not to do when you’re caught with your pants down.
While many of us were chowing down on our Oscar Meyer wieners at Memorial Day weekend barbeques, a soft-core pornographic picture was sent via Weiner’s twitter account to his almost 50,000 followers but he didn’t call the police or FBI.
The tweet gets retweeted before getting taken down and what follows is Weiner’s claim that he “cannot say with certitude that the picture isn’t him.”
While jokes and puns galore ensue, the mainstream media picks up on the fact that if Weiner isn’t guilty, he certainly is acting like it. As they challenge him with more questions he continues to deflect calling the incident a “prank.”
On Tuesday he said that he was “not going to allow this to be what I talk about all week,” only to find himself a day later sitting down for one on one interviews with all the major news networks.
By Thursday morning Weiner insisted that he is not answering any more questions about the incident. But when did he actually start answering any questions?
The general rule of thumb when there is a scandal is to get all the information you have out early so that nothing is left behind. John Edwards failed at this when he didn’t tell us that he had a love child whose baby mama he was paying.
Another important rule to follow is to never lie to or try to lawyer the press. Plainly put: don’t parse words or pretend you’re in appellate court by mincing words, toying with definitions or deliberately picking words that appear as if you are trying to avoid a criminal investigation (Hence, his emphasis on “prank” not “hack”). If that isn’t him in the picture, he would have stated that it wasn’t him outright and out of the gate.
His hostile tone with the press doesn’t help. In an exchange with what should be considered a “friendly” media outlet, Weiner lashed out at CNN during a press conference and deflected any tough question as he typically does when talking about policy issues--rudely and sarcastically. Note to Weiner: don’t get your panties in a tangle.
The public may come to agree. His gross mishandling of the past days' events may have cost him a shot at his much rumored bid to replace New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. And there's more The Atlantic reports, “If Weiner stepped down from Congress, Republicans would have a realistic shot at putting [his district] in play.”
The best answer for Congressman Weiner would have been to admit it was him (if it was) and explain that he accidentally sent it to all of his followers when he meant to send the picture to his newlywed wife (Huma Abedin an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton), and call it a day.
Now it’s too late. His reputation has been damaged and his credibility has come crashing down.
The sooner he admits the real angle to this dangle—that the photo is or is not his wiener, the sooner he’ll get off the front pages of the New York tabloids and we can move on.
Until then, the only one responsible for this pickle is Weiner himself. That, I can say with certitude.
Andrea Tantaros is a conservative commentator. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros.