"I did spend a lot of time saying and thinking: 'I. Don't. Under. Stand.' And it took a long time to be able to sit on a couch next to Anthony and say, 'OK, I understand and I forgive,'" she said.
Americans have proved willing to forgive politicians many misdeeds. Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who turned "hiking the Appalachian Trail" into a euphemism for an affair, is on the road to redemption, having won the Republican nomination for his old seat in Congress.
Other Democratic candidates greeted the prospect of a Weiner candidacy with restraint Wednesday, with several saying they would welcome him to the contest.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has led the Democratic pack in polling, said only that Weiner's decision was up to him and his family.
If Weiner gets into the race, he would have a campaign fund of more than $4.3 million and the possibility of nearly $1.5 million more in public matching funds.
With several Democrats vying for the nomination, it's far from clear that any of them could emerge with the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Some observers think Weiner could at least make it to the second round.
His candidacy could prove a headache for both the Democratic Party and his rivals.
"His issue becomes the issue — it will begin to overshadow aspects of this race," said Democratic former state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, now a political consultant. "And it brings up the quality of Democrats who are running for public office" to an electorate already cynical about politicians, he said.
For some voters, Weiner would be asking too much.
"He isn't a very smart guy, based on what he did. He can be swayed to do the wrong thing," said Dave Smith, a construction worker.
But advertising worker Ben Calarossi said he would vote for Weiner: "We all have social problems. We're all sinners."
Associated Press writer Verena Dobnik contributed to this report.
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