By Chris Cillizza
For Anthony Weiner, it all began on Twitter. On a Saturday in late May, the micro-blogging site exploded with allegations that the congressman, an up-and-coming New York Democrat with a eye on becoming mayor of the Big Apple, had accidentally sent out a picture of his "underwear-clad groin" to his tens of thousands of followers on the site.
What seemed like a bizarre joke — or, as Weiner at first insisted, a case of Twitter hacking — turned into a weeks-long soap opera in which it was eventually revealed that the image in question was Weiner's, well, wiener, and that this was not the first time he had done something like this.
There were any number of lowlights. When NBC's Luke Russert confronted Weiner with the lewd image and asked whether it was indeed him, the congressman responded that he couldn't "say with certitude." It was also revealed that Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was pregnant with the couple's first child. Gut punch. And then there was Weiner's statement declaring that he would seek a temporary leave from Congress to deal with the issues raised by the photos (and buy him time to hold onto his seat).
In the end, Weiner bowed to inevitability and resigned. Even then, he struggled to hold onto his last shreds of dignity; hecklers ribbed him while he read a short statement making plain that he was stepping down so that "my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused."
Weiner, who won our "Worst Week in Washington" award a record four times this year — including three in a row — began 2011 an an early front-runner in the 2013 New York mayor's race. He ended it as a punch line.