The influential women-in-politics group EMILY's List will tell supporters on Friday that as far as New York mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner is concerned, "It's time to end this."
"New Yorkers deserve better than the circus their mayoral race has turned into. I actually caught myself glad I'm not home — where I'd have to see the cover of the NY Post on every street corner," communications director Jess McIntosh will write Friday morning in an email obtained by NBC News.
Their proposed solution: Donating to Christine Quinn, who would be the first woman mayor of New York.
"She's tough, she's experienced, and she's ready to become the first woman mayor of America's largest city. She just needs the resources to win in a crowded Democratic primary against one very well-known (and many other) opponents," the email says.
EMILY's List works to elect women candidates who support abortion rights, and they first endorsed Quinn back in January.
But as the Weiner scandal has reemerged, they've come under criticism from Republicans who say that what Weiner did amounts to a "war on women" — co-opting the language that Democrats used during the 2012 campaign to try and paint the GOP as hostile to women voters.
"Liberal men are leading a violent war on women — and liberal 'women's group' EMILY'S List is helping them," the conservative ShePAC — led by people with strong ties to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — wrote to its fundraising list a day after news broke that Weiner had continued sexting with women after he resigned from Congress.
ShePAC emailed around pictures of Democrats who've strayed. There was Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky; presidential candidate John Edwards with his second family, mistress Rielle Hunter and daughter Frances Quinn; former Oregon Rep. David Wu in a tiger costume.
"The real war on women is coming from the left," the email said.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee had a similar message — and repeated it almost every day during the now week-long scandal. "Democrats invoke the 'War on Women' charge repeatedly, but they head for the hills when asked about their Democratic colleagues’ actual mistreatment of women," the committee wrote in one press release.
The NRSC also renamed all of the vulnerable Democratic senators using Slate.com's Carlos Danger name generator — created after the website The Dirty revealed that Weiner used the pseudonym "Carlos Danger" when he sexted with women online. (Alison Lundergan Grimes, the woman running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, ends up as "Juan Sly," according to the committee.)
Both groups accused women's groups and Democratic elected women of staying silent in the face of Weiner's misdeeds.
"Why are the historic number of Democratic women serving in Congress silent on these sexual misconducts and terrible treatment of women from their male counterparts?" ShePAC asked.
And Republican women raised questions about why women officials in the Democratic party stayed largely silent throughout the Weiner debacle.
"So many of these recent scandals if you will where a male candidate has treated a woman horribly — tend to be Democratic candidates. And the outrage that you'd typically see from the left or women groups - you're not seeing any of it," said Kristen Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — the highest-ranking woman in Congress — broke her silence Thursday after reporters asked her about Weiner and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, a former member of Congress who's now accused of harassing multiple women in his office.
"The conduct of these people we're talking about is reprehensible, it's so disrespectful of women and what's really stunning about it, they don't even realize it, they don't have a clue. If they're clueless get a clue if they need therapy do it in private," Pelosi said at a press conference.
But Pelosi refused to call on Weiner to drop out of the race, saying that was up to the people of New York.
EMILY's List argues that the "war on women" actually has nothing to do with philandering pols — and is instead about a policy platform.
"It’s outrageous when men of either party (or no party at all) treat the women in their worlds badly, but the entire Republican agenda has prioritized passing laws that make women second-class citizens in this country," said Marcy Stech, the group's press secretary.
The reality is that, in public offices high and low, male bad behavior is a bipartisan affair — and the outcomes on both sides are mixed.
Some of the unfaithful stay in office (former Democratic President Bill Clinton; Republican Rep. Scott Dejarlais, a doctor who carried on sexual affairs with his patients). Some resign from office immediately (Weiner; former Republican Rep. Mark Souder, an evangelical who had an affair). Some are forced out and then mount comeback attempts (Weiner; newly elected Republican Rep. Mark Sanford, famous for saying he was on the Appalachian Trail when he was actually visiting his mistress).
Some solicit prostitutes and resign (Democratic New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer), while others solicit prostitutes and stay in office (Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter). Some of the johns mount comeback bids (Spitzer).
Weiner, so far, is staying in the race — so voters will decide whether his sins are publicly forgiven. In the meantime, observers on both sides agree that there's exactly one woman who's let Weiner get this far: His wife, Huma Abedin.
First published July 26 2013, 5:44 AM