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Posted at 3:05 PM ET, 01/19/2011

The art of the political takedown

By Rachel Weiner

Today's Portland Oregonian newspaper features a brutal accounting of the odd antics of Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), who "has lost at least six staffers," along with nearly his entire political team, amid complaints about his odd behavior. (Among other things, Wu lied to TSA agents in order to greet voters at the airport.)

That got us thinking -- what other newspaper/magazine articles or television pieces have so thoroughly hammered a politician?

Here are some of our favorite journalistic takedowns. What did we miss? Put it in the comments section and we'll compile a Fix Top Political Takedowns list.

* Rep. John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), The Albany Times-Union:

Gayle Sweeney, about to confront former U.S. Rep. John Sweeney in a divorce case, claims her husband was often verbally abusive and at times physically abused her during their marriage.

* Sen. Robert Packwood (R-Ore.), Washington Post:

After Republican Robert W. Packwood was narrowly reelected to the Senate by Oregon voters in 1992, The Washington Post published a lengthy front-page story outlining the senator's unwanted sexual advances as reported by 10 women, mainly former staff members and lobbyists.

* Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.), The New York Times

A review of Mr. Johnson's rise and his history, undertaken after he emerged as perhaps the man closest to the state's chief executive, shows that he was twice arrested on felony drug charges as a teenager, including a charge of selling cocaine to an undercover officer in Harlem.

* Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.), San Diego Union Tribune:

A defense contractor with ties to Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham took a $700,000 loss on the purchase of the congressman's Del Mar house while the congressman, a member of the influential defense appropriations subcommittee, was supporting the contractor's efforts to get tens of millions of dollars in contracts from the Pentagon.

* Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), New York Post:

* Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.), WNBC:

In October 2002, Dienst received national acclaim for a 40-minute commercial-free report investigating alleged wrongdoing by New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli. The report included new evidence, documents, interviews and video that raised troubling questions about the Senator's relationship with convicted fundraiser David Chang. In addition, Dienst and WNBC's legal team helped lead the fight to unseal court papers about Torricelli's ties to Chang. Senator Torricelli announced he was dropping out of the race four days after WNBC's report aired.

What did we miss?

By Rachel Weiner  | January 19, 2011; 3:05 PM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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