Weiner Reveals More for a PR Comeback

 Weiner Reveals More for a PR ComebackWhat ever happened to Anthony Weiner? The New York congressman shot to fame when he mistakenly tweeted a photo of his namesake (no, not his kid) to thousands of followers, thinking it was going to one flirtatious admirer. He denied all at first, then resigned shortly thereafter. It was a sudden ending to a promising congressional career, made all the more complicated as his wife, Huma Abedin, was one of Hilary Clinton’s closest lieutenants and pregnant with their first child at the time.

Little has been heard from Weiner since his embarrassing resignation. Earlier this year, he and Abedin announced the birth of their son in a soft-focus feature in People magazine. Several months of silence followed. Now, the New York Times Magazine has given the former congressman and his wife a long and detailed cover story outlining his journey to redemption – and his possible mayoral ambitions for New York.

The article’s narrative? Anthony Weiner has been doing some reflecting. He and Huma have worked through their issues. Yes, he still feels paralyzed with guilt about the humiliation he brought onto their family. He lives with the embarrassment and pain. His wife has emerged as a tower of strength and understanding. Being out of the  spotlight has helped him revaluate his life. He now understands the true meaning of humility and the danger of hubris. Is that enough to pave his way to the New York mayoral race?

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) for Anthony Weiner and his PR reinvention. Let the show begin.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Break for an interval before the second act. The Times article asked all the right questions: Why did Anthony Weiner do it? What did he learn? How has it changed him? With his wife ever-present in the article, and joining him on the magazine cover, critics now have little PR mileage to make out of the infamous tweet. While Weiner will undoubtedly face more questions, the definitive answers have been given. The Weiner camp can plan its political march forward toward the campaign office.

To read the full article, click here.

Bachmann’s Accusations Backfire

 Bachmanns Accusations Backfire

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for Michele Bachmann.

Michele Bachmann, former Republican nominee, recently brought to the nation’s attention her concern that foreign agents are infiltrating the very highest levels of office in the US. This is her first major media moment since announcing application for dual citizenship (her husband is Swiss) and quickly retracting after embarrassingly negative outcry from her constituency. Signing a letter she made public, she claimed that the infiltration of the U.S. government by the Muslim Brotherhood was possibly underway and claimed that two prominent Muslims — Huma Abedin, the State Department aide to Hilary Clinton, and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota — are tied to the organization.

Bachmann, who also sits on the House Intelligence Committee, has used her position there to lend gravitas to her allegations. But the “ouch” moment came when the committee’s chairman told USA Today, “That kind of assertion certainly doesn’t comport with the Intelligence Committee, and I can say that on the record.” Hmmm… What now, Michele?

Everybody ran for cover. Sen. John McCain denounced the accusation from the Senate floor and joined members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, shutting this news event down. Republican party officials hardly rushed to Bachmann’s defense, with her own state party Chairman “not available” for any elaboration. So far, Bachmann’s office has denied repeated followup media requests. Are they hoping this will simply go away?

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for a mess that still needs to be cleared up. Saying nothing won’t wipe the slate.

The PR Takeaway: As mommie used to say: Clean up your mess! With Bachmann’s accusations described as loony by the media and her congressional colleagues on both sides (who says the government can’t agree?), it is clear this PR missile is only gaining speed in the wrong direction. One voter was quoted in the coverage as saying Bachmann is the “Only one telling the truth” but then again he also claimed that President Obama goes to Martha’s Vineyard to observe Ramadan….. Before Bachmann positions herself as an unequivocal fringe outsider, it might be time to retract, apologize, and simply say this was a mistake. Until she does, the issue is unlikely to go away.

What can Michele Bachmann do to save political face now? Give us your PR Verdict!

Is Anthony Weiner Hot-Dogging for Public Office?

anthony weiner 3001 Is Anthony Weiner Hot Dogging for Public Office?

The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for Anthony Weiner and his image rebuild.

Whatever happened to Anthony Weiner, the former congressman from Queens? Weiner resigned at a farewell press conference in 2011 after he was caught sending photos of his own wiener to six women, none of whom were his wife. The press went crazy and resignation swiftly followed. After something like that, how do you rebuild a reputation?

Judging by the recent interview he gave to People magazine, Weiner is getting good PR advice. People covered his recent interview with three full pages, complete with pictures of his baby, adoring wife Huma Abedin, and the headline “I Feel Like a Different Person.”

The article ticks all the right PR boxes: Yes, he regrets the incident; yes, he has sought counseling (sigh of predictability); and yes, his marriage is stronger than ever. He talks about how he let people down and would still love (possibly) to return to public office. Add in an endorsement from a political strategist who says, “[Weiner] worked hard when in office and can rebuild his life,” and have his loving wife show her support by saying that Anthony is trying to be the best husband and father “he can possibly be.” Finally, downgrade photos that were previously  called ‘lewd” and “creepy” during the height of the scandal to the more playful adjective “naughty.” Done! The stage is set for a political comeback.

The PR Verdict: “A”  (PR Perfect) for Anthony Weiner and his image rebuild. Nicely done.

The PR Takeaway: Slow and steady wins the race. In PR remakes, the best course of action is to take tentative baby steps and gauge reactions. As Weiner himself says, “I’m still trying to work out where I am in the public consciousness.” For the moment, stay away from political controversy and stick to self-improvement. Wieners (the type besides the congressman and the hot dog) have gotten all sorts of famous men in trouble, Elliott Spitzer and Bill Clinton, to name two. This Weiner’s PR recovery is just beginning.

Can Anthony Weiner return to public office after this public scandal? Give us your PR Verdict!