This clip made the rounds on Twitter last night, but it's brutal enough that it merits its own full post. As you watch it, ponder this question: Why on earth would Weiner and/or his staff have thought it'd be wise to offer another excruciating press avail? I say "another" because many of you may be thinking to yourselves, 'but Townhall has already posted a clip of Anthony Weiner awkwardly refusing to answer questions from skeptical reporters.' Indeed -- you weren't hallucinating yesterday; we most certainly did. The footage you are about to see is from a subsequent Q&A with reporters, most notably CNN's Dana Bash. As uncomfortable as the first stonewall session was, this one strikes me as far worse because Weiner starts to lose his cool. Trainwreck:
So, unless I'm muddling the timeline, Weiner met the media early in the day yesterday (the no tie gaggle) and refused to answer any questions. Instead, he referred reporters to a series of vague, parsed statements his office released over the weekend. Then, for reasons unexplained, he came back for more (this time wearing a tie, just as a reference point) and did the exact same thing -- just more angrily. It's possible that the press cornered him the second time around, but he still chose to stand there and serve up useless, confrontational non-answers for eight minutes.
Could Weiner have been trying to project a sense of unflappable innocence by proactively engaging the media? If that was his goal, he failed badly. He came off as defensive, antsy, and -- frankly -- pretty damn guilty. One gets the sense this is going to get worse for Weiner before it gets any better. Gawker is now reporting that Weiner exchanged Twitter "Direct Messages" with a porn star several months ago, which further buttresses the second scenario I laid out in yesterday's post.
If a "mischief maker" really did hack his Twitter and yfrog accounts as he claims, why won't Weiner answer the very basic question of whether the photograph is of him, or not? By steadfastly clinging to unresponsive answers, I'd imagine that Weiner creates the impression in most viewers' minds that it is him in that photo, and that he's not being honest.
Rangel, who has been beset by scandalous charges in recent years, says that Weiner is likely the victim of a smear campaign. “It’s some kind of political game they’re playing,” he says. “I don’t know who did it, but that’s what they’re doing.”
UPDATE - Via Lachlan Markay, heh:
Weiner, who has refused to initiate an official investigation into what he claims was a criminal "hack" (he later dubbed it a "prank") into his Twitter account, insisted in May 2009 that "Cyber attacks…are real and demand immediate action." But he warned against giving a government agency too much power, and called for a "balanced approach" to cyber security.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography