Weiner awaits reaction from members of Congress next week
Rep. Anthony Weiner has admitted to sending lewd photos to young women via Twitter. The House is on recess, but once they return, their reception toward the democratic congressman is not expected to be very inviting.
"I think that he is going to be ostracized as much as any member of Congress can be," says Hawkings. "He has said as late as yesterday, he has no plans to resign. I think he may well believe he can get through this without being forced out, but once he comes back to Capitol Hill next week and finds that no member of Congress will stand next to him at the podium or co-sponsor a bill with him, or shake his hand, or get anywhere near him, and that lobbyists won't take meetings with him, and that his staff is looking for work, and that he can’t raise money -- it would seem hard from me to believe that somebody with this big sense of ego that Anthony Weiner undeniably has, would conclude that it would be worth his time to stay in Congress."
There's criticism coming from both parties. Only a couple of republicans have been vocal on calling him to resign.
"In part because they've concluded that they don't need to pile on, they can essentially stand aside and watch this scandalette play out on its own without any help from them," Hawking says. "About half a dozen members of the House, including the chief campaign recruiting officer, have called on him to resign. But the big-time leaders – Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer – whatever they've done, they've done behind the scenes. They haven’t spoken out against him yet."
Panetta appears for confirmation hearing
CIA Director Leon Panetta, President Obama's pick for the next defense secretary, received a pretty warm welcome from the Senate Armed Services Committee this week, at a time when many nominations are being blocked.
"He is the exception," says Hawkings. "I think he is well-known to members of the Senate. He's a member of the club; he's a member of Congress. That always helps with confirmation. Leon Panetta was a California congressman, rose to be the chairman of the budget committee before going to the Clinton White House in the 90s – first as budget director, then as chief of staff. So he’s well plugged in in Congress."
Arguably one of the reasons why Obama picked him was not because he's a defense expert, but because he’s a savvy political player in Washington, Hawkings says.
Hill staffers repsond to Gingrich staff resignations
Former House Speaker Newt Gringrich says he's still running for the Republican nomination, despite the fact that 16 campaign aids resigned this week.
"I would say there's very little surprise, especially among the people on Capitol Hill – the veteran republicans, staffers and lobbyists who knew Newt Gingrich when he was the Speaker back in the second half of the 1990s. Undeniably, a visionary for the Republican Party, brought them out of the wilderness, put them back in the majority for the first time in 40 years. But after that he had a very, very rocky speakership. And it was in large measure because of behavior – like what's come out in the last day. He was not known as someone who delegated well, he was not known as someone who listened to their underlings, he was quite dictatorial and unwilling to hear rational advice, and this is what prompted him to face a coup from his own rank and file in 1997, and then a year later he forced the republicans into an impeachment debate against President Clinton that really turned out to be a political backfire, and he was essentially driven from office. So veteran republicans look at this and say 'we could have told you so.'"