While the rest of America was watching Anthony Weiner sorta, kinda accept responsibility for the fact that he had lied to himself (among others), the Washington Post's Godfather of Political Reporting, Dan Balz, was poring over the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll which made Weiner's mea culpa seem like good news.
But first, without snickers, nudges and rhetorically throwing each other into the bushes like schoolboys; let's take a brief look at how Weiner's collapse came about.
Weiner was, apparently, driven to hold that presser by ABC News which had gotten hold of text and visual material from a woman in Texas.
In the piece by Chris Cuomo, Chris Vlasto and Devein Dwyer ABC News claimed Weiner called the press conference "as ABC News prepared to release an interview with Meagan Broussard, a 26-year-old single mother from Texas who provided dozens of photos, emails, Facebook messages and cell phone call logs that she says chronicle a sexually-charged electronic relationship with Weiner that rapidly-evolved for more than a month, starting on April 20, 2011."
The story claims ABC News had "reached out to Weiner earlier [in the day] for comment about his possible ties to Broussard."
Before we book flights to Sweden to attend the presentation of the Nobel Prize for Outing a Congressman, note this, which was buried deep in the story at the end of a paragraph. The materials, according to ABC, "were obtained and licensed from her by ABC News."
"Licensed?" Is that the same as bought, purchased, and/or paid for? That's what, when supermarket tabloids do it, is dismissively called "checkbook journalism" by major news outlets, like ABC News.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi immediately called for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. Was she throwing her Liberal ally under the bus?
Nah. Pelosi's craftier than that. By lateraling the ball to the Ethics Committee she let every member of the House Democratic Caucus off the hook because now, when asked by a reporter if Weiner should reply, they can simply reply: "I'll wait for the Ethics Committee to report."
I was asked by a reporter yesterday whether, if I were advising Weiner, I would have urged him to resign.
I said that, assuming we know everything there is to know, I would have recommended he see if he can ride it out. It's a long way between now and November 2012.
I added, though, that I thought his chances of ever being Mayor of New York City - his oft stated political goal - were now very, very dim.