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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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July 23rd, 2013
05:55 PM ET

Analysis: Weiner won't survive latest scandal

When you're name is Anthony Weiner, why would you even need a dirty pseudonym for online sex chats? But Weiner, or "Carlos Danger" as one website is alleging he liked to go by, is admitting that new sexually explicit online chats have surfaced.

The news comes right in the middle of his bid to become New York City's next mayor.

"I don't believe he can survive this," said CNN contributor and Republican strategist Kevin Madden. "Weiner's path was not about his transgressions, but instead about the people of New York and what he could do to help their lives. And this in an incredible way, an extraordinary way, complicates that. He can never have that conversation now."

Weiner did say more texts and pictures would come out, he tried to inoculate himself from the latest scandal.

Screenshots of conversations and photographs that appeared on a gossip website are allegedly between Weiner and a woman from last summer, a year after Weiner resigned. CNN has not independently confirmed the messages.

"It now becomes a story about him. He becomes more of a punch line than he already was," said national editor of the Cook Political Report Amy Walter.

While Weiner took questions at a press conference Tuesday afternoon, voters may not believe his answers, said Walter.

"Is it still happening? And how do we know if it's not? Do we trust you that it's not?" said Walter.

"He has a high hurdle to get over because it's just creepy," said CNN contributor and democratic strategist Cornell Belcher. "However, the idea of redemption is big. We saw that with Sanford down in South Carolina. I wouldn't be surprised if he does stay in the race and he does make a run at it."

"Don't count him out quite yet, I would say," said Belcher.

"The persuadable voter that Anthony Weiner needed to win here, is no longer interested in Anthony Weiner," said Madden. "This opens up a huge opportunity for Christine Quinn and others that are in this race, the top candidates, to take those voters."

Another political redemption project in New York City is Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer's campaign released a new ad Monday, which opens with the former governor saying, "Look, I failed, big time. I hurt a lot of people."

"He's doing the classic, when you're unpopular, make something else even less popular than you are," said Walter. His new ad acknowledges his flaws, and in it, Walter said, he essentially says, "But you know what's even worse, Wall Street. You hate them more than you hate me, so I'm going to focus on that."

Belcher said it is a "brilliant ad" that shows Spitzer as contrite and apologetic, and then immediately pivots to other negatives.

"He does the flip side of what Weiner did. At the end he makes it all about the voters, he makes it all about what he's going to do for them," said Madden. "In the end, it was a pretty effective ad."

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