When people express sorrow for something, they might offer wine, candy or flowers.
Politico‘s Mike Allen? He sends Weiners.
This morning at 4:01 a.m., Allen, who has scantly been covering the scandal frying Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) in the past two weeks, sent FishbowlDC a special Playbook Weiner Edition. Allen insists he has showed “restraint” by not covering the Weiner saga. He says his readers, especially an ex-Obama official at VP Biden‘s recent BBQ, are impressed by his Weiner-avoidance. Allen’s readers won’t see this special edition unless they ask. Ours will see it after the jump…
A grand gesture? Indeed. Wild weiners couldn’t have stopped us from opening up Allen’s early morning gift. But Allen has yet to address the larger point of our pushiness. He can cover Weiner or not cover Weiner. He can put away the relish, onions, chili, catsup and mustard and never bring the condiments out of the cupboard again. But his Weinerless coverage did not fit Allen’s pattern and that is why it caught our attention. He has covered scandals and big stories day in and day out, but with more of a keen, insidery eye than most. So why leave Weiner out in the shriveling cold?
As we’ve reported, yesterday Allen devoted several inches of space to a profile about his close friend Philippe Reines, a Clinton aide who is working damage control for colleague Huma Abedin, the wife of Weiner. Which leaves us still with an unanswered question: Is sparse coverage something a reporter does naturally when close to an aide whose playing damage control for Abedin?
A note to Allen: Thank you for the special Weiner Playbook edition. We will cherish it always.
POLITICO Playbook – Exclusive to Fishbowl: Weiner Insider edition (assist: Kevin Robillard)
POPPING ON AIR — President Obama, in an interview with Ann Curry airing this morning on TODAY: “Well, obviously what he did was highly inappropriate. I think he’s embarrassed himself, he’s acknowledged that, he’s embarrassed his wife and his family. Ultimately there’s going to be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign. Because public service is exactly that, it’s a service to the public. And when you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can’t serve as effectively as you need to at the time when people are worrying about jobs and their mortgages and paying the bills, then you should probably step back.” http://on.today.com/kDIm83
– Press Secretary Jay Carney, earlier in the day, to reporters on Air Force One: “The president feels, we feel in the White House, that this is a distraction, obviously. As Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate, his dishonesty was inappropriate. But the president is focused on his job which is getting the economy continuing to grow, creating jobs, and obviously ensuring the safety and security of the American people.”
@danbalz: With the president urging his resignation, Anthony Weiner’s “leave of absence” may be little more than a euphemism.
@StephenAtHome (Stephen Colbert): Democrats called for Weiner to resign. Unfortunately, all they heard on the other end of the call was a lot of heavy breathing.
@GenetteC (Genette Cordova, who Weiner’s DM was originally intended for): “personally don’t think what he did is all that bad and I think the media’s preoccupation with this story is a little absurd……having said that, I think he should resign,”
–Those tweets have since been deleted.
BEHIND THE CURTAIN — NYT A13, “Her Call for Weiner to Resign Puts a Diminished Pelosi Back in the Limelight,” by Carl Hulse and Jennifer Steinhauer: “Her call for Mr. Weiner to resign, echoed Monday by President Obama in an interview with NBC, is the toughest test of authority she has faced since she lost the speakership in last year’s elections and then fought to remain Democratic leader when some party members argued that it was time for a change. On Monday, Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia and majority leader, urged House Democratic leaders to do more to show Mr. Weiner that he was unwelcome by eliminating some privileges of membership, like his seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. … Supportive House Democrats and aides to Ms. Pelosi have strongly defended her, saying there is little that can be done short of an expulsion vote to oust a House member who is determined to stay. Ms. Pelosi made the same point Monday night, saying she hoped that with the president’s joining her and other leaders in urging him to resign, Mr. Weiner would take heed.” http://nyti.ms/mf2dWn
DEE DEE MYERS op-ed in Politico, “Getting Democrats back on track”: “The [Weiner] story has drowned out Democrats’ attempts to talk about jobs, or the economy, or Medicare or anything else. Last week, Republicans introduced legislation that would privatize Social Security — replacing the government-managed program with private savings accounts. A similar initiative during former President George W. Bush’s second term failed to come to a vote in either house of the Republican-controlled Congress after stiff opposition from Democrats and the public. This is turf where Democrats would normally be itching for a fight. But Tuesday’s announcement went almost unnoticed. … Weiner has done more to block their agenda than the best efforts of the Republicans ever could.” http://bit.ly/lnBp1V
THE CONTRARIANS – Josh Marshall, on his editor’s blog at TPM, “Anthony Weiner, anti-hero”: “ I don’t want Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to resign. … At heart it’s still a BS story. I see a Member of Congress who’s totally embarrassed himself. But as I tried to make clear to staff last week it’s hardly a federal case. And his own constituents seem clear that they don’t want him to resign.” http://bit.ly/mOBfiG
–Peter Beinart, writing for The Daily Beast: “I don’t think the real reason pundits are baying for Weiner’s head has anything to do with his ability to be a good congressman. It’s more primal than that. We live in a kick-them-while-they’re-down culture. We love to see the powerful humiliated because it proves that they were no better than us to begin with.” http://bit.ly/m39cAY