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Before last night, only CNN could tout a bona fide sex scandal veteran on their Rep. Anthony Weiner sexting fiasco coverage team. Tonight, Fox News upped the ante with an exclusive interview with former Congressman Mark Foley, who told Sean Hannity how he overcame his demons and how he expects Rep. Weiner can repair his life.
Foley found himself in disgrace after lewd email communications between him and 16-year-old boys were discovered, after which he immediately resigned. For Hannity, the behavior was inexplicable, though Foley tried: "I saw the computer screen almost like a confessional in a church," he noted, trying to grasp at the safety he felt despite the risk he was taking. Meanwhile, he refused to seek help because "I didn't want anyone to see me reaching for something that would give me understanding." Hannity asked how he dealt with the issue today: "do you punish yourself every day?" Foley noted that he did struggle with the consequences of his actions to this day.

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An alcohol distributor has admitted he illegally reimbursed his employees for donations made to the presidential campaign of Vice President Joe Biden at a sham fundraising event and provided free booze at parties for numerous politicians.

Christopher Tigani, the former president of NKS Distributors Inc., admitted in a plea agreement with the Justice Department that he bundled at least $219,800 in illegal campaign contributions to federal and state candidates. He also admitted he and his company provided in-kind contributions to federal and state candidates and campaign committees, including free alcohol at political fundraising events.

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A growing chorus of progressives is calling on Democrats to keep their mouths shut when it comes to Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) future -- and are dismissing the Democratic calls for Weiner to step down as another sign of the timidity of the party.

It's not so much that Weiner didn't screw up royally, they say. It's that they say it's just not that big a deal, and making it into one falls into a Republican trap. And, besides, they say, as long as Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) is still walking the halls of the Capitol, why should the left be forced to lose one of its most ardent supporters?

It's not clear how far this will develop. Defending Weiner is not something many are willing to do. But for some progressives, the response to Weiner is another sign of the Democratic party letting its left wing down.

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The sudden capsizing of Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign, as aides departed en masse Thursday, leaves Newt with few remaining supporters, a position he has found himself in frequently throughout a tumultuous career that left many burned bridges in its wake.

Katon Dawson, a top aide and fixture in South Carolina politics quit on Thursday, and conceded to TPM only weeks earlier that Gingrich had a history of working in isolation.

"Newt's a guy who's been alone in these fights a long time," Dawson told TPM. "If you look into the 1990s when they were taking on big stuff -- welfare reform, when Clinton vetoed him before signing the budget, reducing the deficit -- those were big, big things and he didn't have a lot of partners then."

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Already on the rise, the buzz around Texas Governor Rick Perry's presidential aspirations is about to get very loud in the wake of Newt Gingrich's campaign collapse.

Two of Perry's closest aides, Rob Johnson and Dave Carney, were among the wave of staffers to resign from Gingrich's campaign. Their participation in a potential rivals' camp was often cited by observers as a sign Perry may not be running for president in 2012.

Minutes after news of their departure, CBS reported that Perry was "serious" about a White House bid, per sources close to the governor. Earlier that same day, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece quoting unnamed confidants suggesting Perry was looking closely at joining the race.

After well over a year of strong denials that he was interested in a run, Perry told reporters in May that he was considering a bid and would make his final decision once the state legislature had finished its session. He'd instantly be considered a top-tier candidate given his resume as a long-serving governor, his popularity with conservatives, and the lack of a credible Southern candidate in the field.

Things really are going bad for Newt Gingrich, in the wake of the mass resignation of his staff: Even one of his honorary co-chairmen is jumping ship.

The campaign of Tim Pawlenty has announced that former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has joined Team Pawlenty. "Tim Pawlenty is a great man, he was a phenomenal governor, and he is the person I now believe stands the greatest chance of defeating President Obama," Perdue said in a Pawlenty campaign press release. "He is the only candidate who has laid out a real plan to grow the American economy, and his track record in Minnesota is proof he's the right man for the job."

Perdue had previously been announced as a co-chair of the Gingrich campaign -- just over two weeks ago. Ouch. Still no word on whether Gingrich can still hold on to his other co-chairman: Former Sen. Zell Miller.

A key link between Pawlenty and Perdue is that Pawlenty's campaign manager is none other than Nick Ayers, who managed Perdue's 2006 re-election campaign when he was only in his early 20s. Perdue then became head of the Republican Governor's Association, and he tapped Ayers to become its executive director, a position that Ayers held through January 2011 under multiple chairmen (Perdue, Mark Sanford, and Haley Barbour.)

While lawmakers from Rep. Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) own party have now begun to call for his resignation, a Marist poll released Thursday night finds that his constituents think he should stay.

In the poll, 56% of registered voters in Weiner's NY-9 district think he should remain in office, while only a third (33%) think he should resign. That result comes as further salacious details about the Twitter scandal have come to light.

However, voters are as yet undecided on whether they'll support Weiner when he's up for reeleciton in 2012. Thirty percent of respondents said they'd definitely vote for him next year, compared to 31% who said they would definitely not. A 38% plurality said it was too early to say for sure who they'll vote for in the next election cycle.

It's the first poll to survey voters solely in Weiner's home district, and the first conducted several days out from Weiner's Monday press conference when he first admitted to sending lewd photos and flirting with multiple women on the Internet.

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