Politicians Who Bounced Back: Photos
Anthony Weiner's political comeback race may have taken a detour with fresh sexting revelations.Corbis Images
Anthony Weiner can't escape the history that forced him to resign his former office even as he's running to hold a new one.
After sending sexually suggestive text messages and photos, then lying that his office's Twitter account had been hacked, he admitted to carrying on virtual flirtations with six women online over a period of three years, derailing a promising career. Fresh revelations that he continued his sexting habit more than a year after he left Congress today will only make the road to political comeback through the New York City mayor's office steeper.
Weiner isn't the only politician in history counting on voters to give him a second chance. In fact, he's not the only candidate in his state in this election year.
Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer speaks to the media along a campaign stop in his race for New York City's comptroller.Getty Images
Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's career has had a similar trajectory to that of former Rep. Weiner, and as a result, the two men have been linked in this race whether they like it or not.
Spitzer resigned from office in 2008 after news broke that he had been a client of a high-end escort agency, part of a prostitution ring under surveillance by federal authorities.
Since his entry into the race for New York City comptroller, questions about the scandal have continued to dog Spitzer, even resurfacing with the recent Weiner news.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford hosts a news conference in the wake of revelations of an affair with an Argentinian woman.Getty Images
For two weeks in the summer of 2009, Mark Sanford, then-governor of South Carolina, disappeared from public view, with his staff, his security detail and even his family unsure of his whereabouts. This led to a media investigation that resulted in the disclosure that Sanford had been seeing a mistress in Argentina, an extramarital relationship first initiated in 2001.
Though the scandal curtailed his political ambitions, as Sanford had been considered a possible candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2012, Sanford managed to keep his office, although he was censured by his state's legislature.
In May 2013, he won a special election contest to represent South Carolina's First District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sen. David Vitter was reelected to office in 2010.U.S. Senate
Like Spitzer, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana was ensnared in a prostitution scandal that tarnished his reputation. Vitter's name turned up in the phone logs of an escort service run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, later dubbed the D.C. Madam.
After the news broke, Vitter went through the familiar routine of any scandal-ridden politician: After an initial period of seclusion, he hosted a news conference with his wife in tow in which he asked for the public's and his wife's forgiveness. Like Sanford, Vitter never resigned his office.
In fact, three years after the story broke, Vitter was reelected to a second term.
Former President Bill Global speaks at an event for the Clinton Global Initiative.Corbis Images
Dubbed the Comeback Kid long before the Monica Lewinsky scandal, former President Bill Clinton is the most famous story of political resurrection in the modern age.
Following revelations that he had a sexual relationship with a White House intern, which he initially very publicly denied, later admitted to and finally was impeached for, Clinton's approval ratings collapsed, so much so that his own vice president, Al Gore, avoided campaigning with Clinton when Gore ran for president in 2000.
After leaving the Oval Office, Clinton's presidency saw a resurgence, as he published his autobiography, participated in public speaking engagements and founded the William J. Clinton Foundation, which is dedicated to address global economic, health and environmental issues.
Marion Barry still holds office in the District of Columbia to this day.Corbis Images
Unlike every other ignominious member of this list, D.C. "Mayor for Life" Marion Barry was caught on camera committing the crime that would erupt into a scandal. In 1990, Barry was videotaped smoking crack cocaine as part of a sting operation by D.C. and federal investigators.
Barry didn't resign from office, and in fact even made a failed attempt at reelection all through the arrest and subsequent trial. Barry was sentenced to six months in prison, which he served.
Upon leaving prison, Barry mounted a stunning comeback, winning a seat on city council in 1992 and retaking the mayor's office in 1994.
Rep. Barney Frank announces his retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives in this photo.Corbis Images
Eight years after assuming his seat representing Massachusetts's Fourth district, Rep. Barney Frank became ensnared in a scandal that threatened to curtail his career.
In 1989, news broke that Frank had been engaged in a relationship with a male prostitute, Steve Gobie, over the course of several years. An investigation by the House Ethics Committee found that Frank had not engaged in any criminal wrongdoing, as Frank had a personal, not professional relationship with Gobia. Frank did, however, use his office to clear Gobie of a number of parking tickets, for which he was censured by the House.
The scandal proved little more than a bump in the road for Frank's career, with the congressman being reelected to his post 11 more times until his retirement.
Sen. Ted Kennedy attends the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008.Corbis Images
The youngest brother in the family that had already seen one of its sons elected to the highest office in the land, Edward Kennedy won in 1962 a seat in the U.S. Senate representing Massachusetts. With the loss of his older brothers by 1968, Kennedy appeared to be next in line to make a run for the presidency by the 1972 election.
At least that was the case were it not for the Chappaquiddick incident. Driving home from a party on a summer night in 1969, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge an into a pond, an accident he escaped with minor injuries. His passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, was left at the scene and died as a result of the crash, which Kennedy didn't report until the following morning.
Kennedy never made it to the Oval Office as a result of this scandal, among other shortcomings. But he did continue to represent his home state for another 40 years until his death in 2009, earning a long record of achievements during his decades as "The Lion of the Senate."
Then-vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon appears alongside Dwight D. Eisenhower at a campaign event.Corbis Images
Long before Watergate tarnished his reputation for good, former president Richard Nixon's career was almost cut short in 1952 due to allegations of financial conflicts of interest with wealthy political backers.
With the threat of Nixon dragging down the ticket with Dwight D. Eisenhower running for president, Nixon took his case to the public in a televised address, later known as the "Checkers speech." Nixon reassured the nation that he had not participated in backdoor dealings and that all donations were strictly for political purposes, not personal, with one exception: "a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate."
The speech proved effective and Nixon proved an asset on the ticket rather than a liability.
Fathering a child out of wedlock is a major scandal for any politician, let alone one running in the 19th century.Library of Congress
Grover Cleveland may be the grandfather of the great American post-scandal political comeback. In fact, he managed to win his first term as president in the wake of public revelations that he fathered a child out of wedlock and had been paying child support to the mother, Maria Crofts Halpin.
Cleveland's campaign wasn't derailed thanks to a simple directive from the candidate: When the question is asked, tell the truth.