My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 August, 2013, 3:00pm

New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner's last line of defence - his wife


The king of sleaze from Queens has done it again. Anthony Weiner, a New York mayoral candidate, is caught in a new sexting scandal. An earlier one cost him a seat in Congress. In 2011, when the scandal broke, he tried to fend off allegations by claiming his Twitter account was hacked.

This time the evidence, pardon the expression, has been laid bare and it may force him out of politics. But he is trying the usual escape route - the spouse parachute. Weiner can't obviously use "my wife did it" or "it is not mine but my wife's" as an excuse as the pictures are a bit too graphic. So he is relying on the support of his high-profile wife, Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Huma's appearance before the media to defend him seemed to be his best option. Pretty and successful, she is - as Senator John McCain once put it - an example of "what is best about America".

She appeared along with her husband and declared: I have forgiven him and I believe him. Implying maybe the rest of New York might follow suit.

This has evoked both sympathy and sarcasm. Some support what they consider a wife's toughest task - defending a philandering husband - while others saw ambition as a motive.

Ever diplomatic in his language, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a doormat. "Doormats with the promise of a pay-off later", was his take on the role of Huma and Clinton in scandals involving their husbands.

It was not just political commentators who criticised Huma.

Some saw her role as a slap in the face of all women fighting husbands who trample on their dignity. She is setting a bad example for young girls by forgiving him, alleged some.

One can easily dismiss Huma as belonging to the "Clinton school of forgiveness", as Limbaugh puts it.

But to stand in the public glare and defend someone's mistakes takes a lot of ambition, if that is the case. Yet you see it again and again.

But why do wives of high-profile men stand up to defend them when they are caught red-handed or even agree to take the blame in some cases?

If it was a high-profile woman who got into such hot water, would a husband stand by and defend her similarly?


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