To complete the Clinton model, Weiner had Ms. Abedin, schooled by Hillary Clinton (the original Tammy Wynette of modern American politics -- her denials notwithstanding), come to the microphone to throw the mantle of her forgiveness not just over her husband but over his candidacy for mayor. "I do very strongly believe that this is between us and our marriage," she said.
It's not for outsiders to tell anyone how to handle issues in their marriage, but neither does an ambitious wife get to dictate to voters what they can and cannot consider when it comes to matters of character -- or, in the case of Weiner, basic decency. It's hard to think how low you'd have to set the bar if Anthony Weiner could clear it.
The Weiner press conference did establish a new high for staggering narcissism, shamelessness, mendacity and borderline psychopathology. There was one moment when Weiner seemed to approach something resembling ordinary human remorse.
"I'm glad these things are behind us," he said. "I know that this is a very public thing that we had happen to us (note the passive voice -- as if the sexting just fell out of the sky), but by no means does it change the fundamentals of my feelings here."
At last, the viewer thought, he's about to recognize that the most important things in his life are his wife and his son. "And that is that I want to bring my vision to the people of New York."
Everyone seems agreed that Anthony Weiner is a worm. What still goes unrecognized is that the worm in this apple fell from the Clinton tree.