sexted with porn stars and constituents, lost his job and possibly his career, all while his wife was pregnant. So why did Huma Abedin stay with Anthony Weiner? That's the obvious question hurled at every woman who has ever stayed with a scandalized politician.
But does it really matter? Love, loyalty,and a six-month-old son could all be legitimate reasons. More interesting is how Abedin has chosen to move forward in her marriage--by taking charge.
"It took a lot of work to get to where we are today, but I want people to know we're a normal family," Abedin tells People magazine in her first interview since the scandal broke.
When the scandalized politician is dad
The magazine's latest issue, out Friday, is likely to focus more on the couple's restored family life than Weiner's history of unsavory texts and subsequent cover-ups. If it's a strategic attempt to get her husband's career back on track, it's a clever one.
"Anthony has spent every day since trying to be the best dad and husband he can be… I'm proud to be married to him," she says. And yes, he does "all the laundry."
In Abedin comes a new brand of "The Good Wife," an outdated term that's come to imply pet-like obedience for the sake of salvaging a husband's career.
If anything, her political prospects are burning brighter. She's also the family breadwinner, while dad's on diaper duty for their 6-month-old son Jordan. As deputy chief of staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her role has been under the microscope ever since Weiner's fall from grace.
Can Anthony Weiner's career be saved?
Right now she's the one weathering political criticism, and quite well. After Michele Bachmann accused Abedin of having influential ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, John McCain vehemently came to Abedin's defense, slamming the allegations and calling Weiner's wife an "honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant." Lindsay Graham and Ed Rollins also lent their support, along with a Facebook group called I Stand With Huma.
The timing of the People article couldn't be better. There's no better way for Weiner to save face than by standing by the woman who stood by him. It's a tactic that worked to restore Bill Clinton's reputation and gain support for Hillary, Abedin's long-time boss.
Like Hillary, she's come too far to be taken down by her husband's mistakes, but that doesn't mean she's prepared to throw her personal life under the bus for public approval.
Even if the People magazine article doesn't re-establish Weiner as a trustworthy candidate, it may foster Abedin's political future. (And when your husband's out of a job, somebody's got to earn the living.)
"That would be a dramatic first step worth celebrating," writes The New York Times' KJ Dell'Antonia,
With Weiner's return to the public eye, it's her career in the spotlight, not his. Meanwhile, the debate over a woman's loyalty to a cheating husband is falling by the wayside. If anything, Abedin's past year captaining her family through murky waters proves it takes just as much strength to stand by a scandalized partner as it does to leave him.
Related on Shine:
Is Weiner's career over?
Bad advice for Huma Abedin
Weiner's sexting partner writes tell-all