Bill and Hillary Clinton increasingly see Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign as an embarrassment and potential liability, and are signaling through associates that they are eager to see him exit the race, several former Clinton aides and advisers told ABC News.
One Clinton associate said the Clintons are “bristling at the comparisons” between Weiner and Bill Clinton, and between Hillary Clinton and Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin.
The pressure they are applying on him to exit the race has been coming from those outside the Clinton inner circle, at least for now, and there are no immediate plans for that to change.
It’s not clear whether either of the Clintons has had direct communications with Weiner or Abedin since the latest batch of racy communications between Weiner and a young woman surfaced last week. One source told ABC News, however, that Hillary Clinton reached out to Abedin on her 37th birthday Sunday.
But associates told ABC News that the Clintons and those close to them are worried that Weiner is not listening to outside advice.
One particular frustration voiced by several prominent Democratic donors is that Abedin contacted them to raise money for her husband’s campaign. The clear implication, according to those donors, was that supporting Weiner was akin to supporting the Clintons, given Abedin’s longstanding and close relationship with the former secretary of state.
In her Sunday New York Times column, Maureen Dowd quoted several Clinton associates voicing concern that the Weiner-Abedin story was beginning to reflect poorly on the Clintons.
“The hard stink of this one is going to get on everyone involved,” one friend is quoted by Dowd as saying.
On the campaign trail on Monday in Queens, Weiner ignored a question about whether he’s spoken with Bill Clinton in recent days. He also deflected questions about whether he thinks the Clintons want him out of the race for mayor.
“I’m going to let the citizens of the city of New York decide who is going to be mayor. I’m not going to ask pundits, I’m not going to ask other politicians. I’m going to let the people decide,” Weiner told reporters. “I don’t take my cues on policy from the Sunday talk shows and the pundits. I never have. I don’t take my cues from the headline writers in the newspapers. I never have.”
Weiner is showing no signs of an imminent exit. He is planning a new television ad with a fresh apology and a promise to turn the page and focus on issues facing New Yorkers, a campaign source told ABC News.
But polls depicted a difficult reality for Weiner. A Quinnipiac poll out Monday showed Weiner dropping to fourth place in the mayoral race, with 53 percent of likely voters saying he should drop out of the race.
The drumbeat among Democrats for Weiner to exit has intensified in recent days. Last week, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi – who served as House speaker while Weiner was in Congress – called Weiner’s conduct “reprehensible” and said he should “get a clue.”
On Sunday talk shows this past weekend, prominent Democrats were more direct on the subject of what Weiner should do next. Top Obama adviser David Axelrod called Weiner’s continued candidacy “absurd” and declared, “it’s time for him to go away.”
Dee Dee Myers, a former Clinton White House press secretary, said the Clintons would like to see Weiner leave the race, though she later clarified that she hadn’t spoken to either the former president or former first lady recently about the campaign.
“This isn’t a story that anybody, particularly the Clintons, are happy to see splashed over the front pages and all over the news relentlessly – and I think they, as much as anyone, would like to see this go away,” Myers said. “If they could choose, they would certainly have Weiner get out of the race and Huma to get on with their life.”
ABC News’ Ben Waldron and Josh Margolin contributed to this report.