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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 2nd, 2013
06:49 PM ET

Analysis: How loyal should campaign staff be?

Campaign manager Danny Kedem made headlines this week by jumping ship from the fast-sinking S.S. Anthony Weiner, as the mayoral candidate floundered in yet another digitized sex scandal, and slipped to fourth in the polls.

But do campaign staffers have a duty to go down with the ship?

"If you have a problem defending your boss to the press, or you feel that you'd have to lie if you were defending your boss to the press, you shouldn't be doing that job," said CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger. "He felt he was misled by his own candidate, and could therefore no longer defend him."

CNN's "Crossfire" host Stephanie Cutter was the deputy communications director for President Bill Clinton, and helped restore Clinton's image after his impeachment following the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

"We believed in him. We believed in the things that we were fighting for. We were in the middle of the administration, and, you know we stuck with him," said Cutter.

"I do remember tough conversations happening with friends and colleagues, and even in the Cabinet, about whether we were going to stick by the president. And we did, and I'm glad for it," said Cutter.

Loyalty at the campaign level, however, is much more tenuous.

Campaign staffers "usually have a higher purpose, something we want to do," said CNN political contributor and Republican strategist Alex Castellanos. "We don't ask for perfection. If we can vote for you, we can work for you."

Weiner, Castellanos argued, is different from previous politicians involved in sex scandals because he is "still addicted," and there is "some self-destructive craving for attention here. This is one sick puppy."

A campaign staffer's "loyalty is to your country always, to your government and your candidate, that's earned," said Castellanos.

For more analysis, check out the video above.

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