Judy Smith, the high-profile crisis management expert whose career inspired the hit ABC television show “Scandal,” said Sunday on “This Week” that New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s wife standing by his side “made no difference whatsoever because his behavior is just reprehensible.”
Huma Abedin, a long-time aide to Hillary Clinton, defended her husband after he admitted earlier this week that he continued to send sexually explicit messages and photos after his resignation from Congress. Initial reports of Weiner’s sexting emerged in May 2011, but new reports last week showed that Weiner’s behavior continued more than a year later.
Smith told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that Weiner’s indiscretions are not “the usual politician having an affair. There’s an element of creepiness to this.”
“I think the main issue is that he comes out, he says ‘please forgive me’ to the American public, and then we’re all shocked to find out that this has continued,” Smith said on the “This Week” roundtable.
Smith, a seasoned “fixer” of media firestorms whose client rolodex includes Paula Deen, Monica Lewinsky and Michael Vick, said she would not consider representing Weiner, adding, “It’s apparent that he’s not listening to anyone, because his campaign manager just quit.”
Smith said she believes the public wants Weiner to leave the New York City mayor’s race, saying, “He’s trying so hard to put the genie back in the bottle. It’s not going to happen for him. He can’t do it.”
She said another disgraced elected official now running for office in New York City, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, has navigated his re-entry into the political spotlight with greater success.
“I think Spitzer’s done a good job in addressing the elephant in a room in particular in his ads and saying, ‘Yes, I’ve made a mistake, but I’m here to serve,’” Smith said.
Smith also contrasted Spitzer, who’s seeking a lower position following his prostitution scandal in 2008, with Weiner, who’s pursuing the highly influential office of New York City mayor.
Spitzer is “really taking a lower position, comptroller, trying to get that, by saying, ‘Let me re-engage you’ and build back up the trust from the public,” Smith said.
Smith compared Weiner to San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who recently captured headlines as the number of women accusing him of sexual harassment rose to seven, saying Weiner is “sort of engaging in the same behavior.”
While Weiner has not shown signs of leaving the mayor’s race following the latest revelations, Smith advised him to throw in the towel.
“Clearly, he has sort of an interest in keeping the late night talk show host folks going with it, but, yeah, he needs to step down,” Smith said.