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Washington — “If we need a reminder of how Jews are like everyone else, this is a useful one,” said Ann Lewis, who as White House communications director managed the fallout from President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal and whose brother, former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, was caught up in a scandal in the 1980s involving a gay escort. “It does help bring us down to earth.”
Unlike other lawmakers caught in scandal, Lewis said, Jewish politicos are less likely to face the charges of hypocrisy that have afflicted others caught with their pants down.
“Jewish politicians by and large have not been huge advocates of patrolling other people’s sex lives,” Lewis said.
The cases all have their own particularities.
Spitzer’s lapses were crimes, though he was never prosecuted for them. Filner’s might yet land him in court; his former communications director said this week that she was suing the mayor for sexual harassment. Weiner’s is just bizarre, though no one has suggested it is criminal. And Cohen is a rare case of smoke being just smoke, sans fire.
Rounding out the sordidness is the baffling case of Cohen, who was caught tweeting and deleting love notes to a bikini model during the State of the Union address in February. Turns out she was his recently discovered love child. Then it was discovered she wasn’t. Then, while attempting to explain the mess, he seemingly came on to a reporter about the age of his not-daughter.
Filner thus far has rejected calls for his resignation, while Spitzer and Weiner are both trying to rehabilitate their political careers after retreating from the spotlight in the wake of the scandals. On Monday, however, Weiner acknowledged that he had sent more explicit photos and texts to a woman, though the exact date of the exchange was unclear.
Cohen added to his problems last week after he was asked by a reporter about a paternity test proving he was not the father of the bikini model Victoria Brink. The congressman responded, “You’re very attractive, but I’m not talking about it.”
Cohen almost immediately sought out the reporter to apologize, saying he had been roiled by the revelation that Brink was not his daughter after her mother had led him to believe he was.
“Been tough week, then this,” Cohen said in a tweet. “Sad 2 say I’m not perfect.”