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Weathering the Storm: What Anthony Weiner Can Learn From These Sex Scandal Survivors

Monday, June 06, 2011

Anthony Weiner isn't resigning post-sex-scandal, and he's far from the first to try to keep his office in the wake of public shaming. He might want to take lessons from this list of pols who got tangled up in sex-scandals and ended up bruised, but not destroyed. Here are eight political careers that went on despite scandal.

Paul Patton: Get a good lawyer

News hit that the former governor of Kentucky, a Democrat, was having an extramarital affair during his second term. After initially denying it, Patton admitted his liaison, and furthermore that he used his power to influence the promotion of an employee at the behest of Tina Conner, the woman he was sleeping with. But Patton managed to soldier on through the rest of his term by reaching a settlement with the state's ethics commission.

David Vitter: Don't give your number out, particularly to "Madams"

Louisiana Senator David Vitter’s phone number turned up in the little black book belonging to the “DC Madam” accused of providing prostitutes for prominent politicians. The Republican remained in office and said his wife has forgiven him, though the Washington Post reports in a 2000 interview with Newhouse News Service about then-President Clinton’s affair, Wendy Vitter said, "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me." Vitter managed to convince his wife to stay with him.

David Paterson: Admit it early

A day after taking office, (after Gov. Eliot Spitzer stepped down as a result of his sex scandal) former New York Gov. David Paterson held a press conference with his wife admitting that they had both engaged in extramarital affairs during a rocky period in their marriage. Two years later, a media storm erupted that Paterson was currently engaged in extra-marital nuzzling, but it disappeared in an unsubstantiated poof.

Gary Condit: Don't give up

Former California Congressman Gary Condit's affair with 24 year old intern Chandra Levy went from sex-scandal to rumored murder scandal when Levy disappeared while walking through a D.C. park. Condit maintained his innocence and stuck it out through the end of his term, despite being repeatedly questioned by the police after Levy's death. Another man was ultimately convicted for the gruesome crime in 2010.

Rudy Giuliani: Bully your way through

How could we leave out Rudy Giuliani? Giuliani’s infidelities were well-suspected, if not well-known during his time as mayor of New York. His ex-wife Donna Hanover accused him of "notorious adultery." He's now married to Judith Nathan, his girlfriend at the time. Worst of all was his decision to call a press conference to announce his separation from his second wife, Donna Hanover, without telling her first. But Giuliani was tearful in his press conference, and spoke of leaning on Nathan's shoulder during his battle with prostate cancer.

Sam Adams: Be open about your sexuality

In 2009, the mayor of Portland, Oregon admitted to having a sexual relationship with an eighteen year-old man named Beau Breedlove. Yes, Beau Breedlove. 

The affair took place during the summer of 2005 while Adams was in his first year on the Portland City Council. The State Attorney General cleared Adams of any wrongdoing because the relationship was consensual and Breedlove wasn't a minor. It was reported that the gay community was divided over whether to call for Adams' resignation, but the mayor ultimately stayed. That's in contrast to former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, who had a homosexual affair with an aide while he was married to a woman. McGreevey stepped down after admitting the affair.

Newt Gingrich: Transfer moral wrongdoing to other people

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, doesn’t seem to have let a little sex scandal hold him back. Not only did the man cheat on his first wife while she was fighting cancer, (and while he was trying to bring down then-president Clinton for similar shenanigans), but he then cheated on that second wife with his third. But don’t worry, Calista, we're sure he means it with you. Now he is running for president while trying to defeat same-sex marriage, to preserve traditional family values.

Bill Clinton: Keep repeating the mantra, "I will survive"

The mother of them all. The Monica Lewinsky scandal dominated Clinton's second term, but he fought it tooth or nail. The U.S. House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton on obstruction of justice and perjury charges, but he survived.

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Comments [1]

Sonia Jaffe Robbins from Manhattan

What Weiner did and what DSK did are VERY different. DSK raped a woman. Weiner sent photos, and not even nude ones, of himself to young women -- inappropriate, but not physical. There is a big difference between actual physical sex with an unwilling woman and talking sex online. What's really bad that Weiner did was lying about his responsibility in the first place. Because his behavior was so innocuous (except probably vis-a-vis his wife) he should have owned up right away and promised now to do it again.

Jun. 08 2011 10:55 AM

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