Published June 08, 2011
Perhaps inevitably, the Clintons have been pulled into the "sexting" scandal surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner.
The New York congressman's family life is tied up with the Clintons by virtue of his wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Abedin travels everywhere with Clinton and is considered part of the inner circle. When Abedin married Weiner last year, former President Bill Clinton officiated.
With Weiner's professional life on the verge of collapse, both he and his wife have turned to the Clintons -- for consolation, for help or just an ear that will listen. The congressman, who has embarked on an epic apology tour in the halls of Congress to try and convince colleagues he can keep his seat, reportedly called the former president to say he's sorry after he confessed to his indiscretions at a press conference Monday afternoon. It's not clear what transpired on the call.
The Clintons are said to be upset by Weiner's earthquake revelations. According to The Wall Street Journal, Abedin also sought the counsel of Hillary Clinton -- who knows a thing or two about straying husbands -- on Monday sometime before Weiner went public with his online dalliances and after he confessed privately to his wife.
Weiner claimed during his press conference Monday that he and his wife still love each other, and do not plan to separate. Amid the chaos in her private life, Abedin continues to work. She is on a plane Wednesday with Clinton and other dignitaries on a trip to Africa, stopping first in the United Arab Emirates.
The two made for a rising Washington power couple. Abedin worked for Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign and was attracting press attention even then -- Vogue magazine profiled her the year before the election, glamorous photo spread and all. Abedin transitioned into her job at the State Department after Clinton joined the Obama administration. The practicing Muslim married Weiner, who is Jewish, in 2010.
Weiner, meanwhile, is determined to hold on. He emerged during the federal health care overhaul debate as one of the Democratic Party's most effective and aggressive debaters, and has continued to play the role of party attack dog -- that is, until Monday, when he admitted he lied about sending a picture of his bulging underpants to a young woman in Seattle over Twitter. He also admitted to carrying on relationships with other women online, some after he got married to Abedin.
Weiner said Monday he has no plans to resign. But as Republicans try to shame him into stepping down, Democrats are opening the door to an ethics committee probe. After House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urged the panel to investigate, the committee released a brief statement suggesting it was under consideration.
"If and when an investigation is appropriate in any matter, the Committee will carry out its responsibilities pursuant to our rules and with the utmost integrity and fairness," the committee said.
Though Weiner is trying to convince his colleagues he can hold on, his chances flicker every time another salacious story emerges about one of his online paramours.
Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old single mother, said she corresponded daily with Weiner online after they met on Facebook.
She told Fox News that Weiner's comments were occasionally explicit, but she "wasn't interested."
Another woman, a Las Vegas blackjack dealer, claims to have exchanged dozens of graphic messages with Weiner. According to TMZ, she wrote a note to Abedin Tuesday apologizing for their actions.