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Dissecting the Weiner Campaign's Spectacular PR Meltdown

Dissecting the Weiner Campaign's Spectacular PR Meltdown
Reuters

Anthony Weiner's campaign manager went on a long, kind of unbelievable rant to Talking Points Memo yesterday, giving some weight to those who think, despite Weiner's never-quit attitude, his campaign is basically over. The target of Weiner communications director Barbara Morgan's ire was former intern Olivia Nuzzi, who wrote two unflattering articles — for NSFWCorp, and for The Daily News, detailing her experience working for the campaign.

Those articles put a small spotlight on the staff drama side act to Wiener's center-ring scandal resurrection. Taken alone, Nuzzi's pieces are interesting, but not particularly damning: Weiner isn't as good at remembering names as he thinks he is. Many of the interns, at least, were only there to get close to Weiner's wife Huma Abedin. But they apparently hit a nerve for Morgan, who went into a full-on, gloriously profane rant with what TPM insinuates was very little prompting. "I’m dealing with like stupid fucking interns who make it on to the cover of the Daily News even though they signed NDAs and/or they proceeded to trash me," Weiner's spokesperson told TPM's Hunter Walker. Here are more snippets from the article. They quickly descend into Delta Gamma sorority girl rant territory on Nuzzi's behavior

On the articles, and the veracity of their claims:

'Fucking slutbag. Nice fucking glamour shot on the cover of the Daily News. Man, see if you ever get a job in this town again.'

"It’s all bullshit. I mean, it’s such bullshit. She could fucking — fucking twat." 

On Nuzzi's conduct as an intern:

“She sucked. She like wasn’t good at setting up events. She was clearly there because she wanted to be seen. Like it was, like, terrible and I had to like - she would like, she would just not show up for work. For the four weeks she worked there — she didn’t work weekends, so twenty days total. Of those twenty days, she missed probably five because she would just like not show up and not tell me she wasn’t going to be there. So, yeah, so there’s that.”

On Nuzzi's jab at Morgan's previous job as the spokesperson for the New Jersey state education commission:

"And then like she had the fucking balls to like trash me in the paper. And be like, 'His communications director was last the press secretary of the Department of Education in New Jersey. You know what? Fuck you, you little cunt. I’m not joking, I am going to sue her."

So why in the name of the baby Jesus did Morgan, who gets paid to know how to talk to the press, unleash like this to a reporter? According to the New York Observer's Jill Colvin, Morgan said after the TPM story went live that she thought she was off the record. Later on Tuesday, Morgan told Business Insider that she's apologized for her comments to Nuzzi: 

In a moment of frustration, I used inappropriate language in what I thought was an off the record conversation. It was wrong and I am very sorry, which is what I said tonight when I called and emailed Olivia to apologize.

While Morgan's rant is, objectively speaking, not a good example of how to be a communications director, it is kind of understandable. Nuzzi's stories piled on to what must be an already pretty terrible week at campaign headquarters. For one thing, Weiner's plummeted in the election polls since everyone learned that his sexting habit didn't die as hard as we thought it did after his first career-ending political scandal. Plus, the campaign lost its campaign director over the weekend, right when Weiner's mayoral dreams started to burn up hot and fast. In any case, Nuzzi has kind of embraced it:

This article originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

Abby Ohlheiser writes for The Atlantic Wire. All posts »

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