After yesterday’s circus-like Manhattan press conference featuring Anthony Weiner’s mea culpa and a bizarre appearance by right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart—who originally posted the photos of Weiner—the two critical questions are how did Weiner do, and where does he go from here?
Andy Gilman, president and CEO of D.C.-based CommCore Consulting Group, which specializes in crisis comms and media training, says Weiner did pretty well under stressful circumstances. “He was focused, very careful in what he said and business-like,” says Gilman, who adds that Weiner’s question-taking session after his prepared statement didn’t hurt his message, as it showed he was willing to face the heat head on.
Now, says Gilman, we’ll see if Weiner has the emotional wherewithal to ride this crisis out. In the next few days, Weiner should make himself visible (but not overly so) on Capitol Hill, then go back to Queens next week and do a few town hall meetings with constituents. Of course, all of this will be moot if he resigns.
Weiner’s episode is a tough one for PR counselors to handle, says Gilman. “With human behavior there is precious little you can do, because there is no crisis trail in which you can detect a leaky valve and take steps to fix it,” he says. And lying to the press and public just compounds the problem. “People will accept a fire, a car accident or a shooter—but they won’t accept unethical behavior," says Gilman.
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