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His marriage last July to Huma Abedin, a close aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, made Weiner an honorary member of one of the Democratic Party’s leading families. Clinton hosted an engagement party for the couple at her Washington home, where she told guests she considered Abedin her second daughter. Bill Clinton officiated at their wedding in the gardens of Long Island’s Oheka Castle.

Abedin was at work all week at the State Department. Friends say she has handled the situation with confidence and is supporting Weiner through it.

“Huma is a consummate professional and is firing on all cylinders as she always does, not missing a beat,” friend and State Department colleague Philippe Reines said.

Few of Weiner’s Democratic colleagues have come to Weiner’s defense this week. That’s a consequence, some say, of his reputation for self-promotion.

New York has weathered a number of political sex scandals in recent years, most notably the resignation of then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2008 amid evidence he had patronized a high-end prostitution ring. While the Weiner controversy does not rise to that level and there’s been little talk of a resignation, but it can’t help but affect any plan he may have to run to succeed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg when the mayor’s third term ends in 2013.

Weiner lost a bid for the nomination once before, in 2005, and has said it’s the only job he wants more than serving in Congress. He’s been considered a top candidate in what’s expected to be a crowded field.

“The problem is, it’s all so subject to ridicule,” Koch said. “He doesn’t know if he took a picture of himself? It only gets crazier and crazier.”