If Anthony Weiner remains a contender in the New York City mayor’s race after admitting a second time he sent lewd pictures to women he met online, he will have his wife, Huma Abedin, to thank, political watchers said on Wednesday.
Weiner, who resigned from Congress in disgrace two years ago and is now attempting a political comeback, acknowledged on Tuesday that he continued having sexually charged chats for more than a year after his tearful resignation.
Abedin, 36, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, broke from the usual playbook of supporting wives when Weiner resigned in 2011 and was conspicuously absent from her husband’s side.
But the couple stayed together and Abedin has played a critical role in rehabilitating Weiner’s image by sacrificing her well-guarded privacy to publicly support him.
On Tuesday, after a website published a new series of online chats and pictures in which Weiner reportedly used the pseudonym “Carlos Danger,” Abedin smiled as she told voters the scandal was behind them and this was a personal matter.
“Anthony’s made some horrible mistakes, both before he resigned from Congress and after, but I do truly believe that that is between us and our marriage,” Abedin said, allowing she was “a little nervous” about her first press conference. “I love him, I have forgiven in him, I believe in him.”
Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, gave Abedin high marks for her appearance on Tuesday.
“I think she did exactly what she needed to do,” Miringoff said. “Without her, he was walking to a trapdoor and his candidacy was over. She provides credibility for the changes that he says he’s gone through. If you don’t believe him, maybe you’ll believe her.”
‘I BELIEVE IN WHAT HE WANTS TO DO’
Others questioned her decision.
The New York Post ran a photograph of Abedin, her head bowed, on its cover, saying Weiner had sent her to “new depths of humiliation.” In its editorial calling on Weiner to step out of the race, the New York Times wrote that it was difficult “not to feel for Ms. Abedin.”