What he did right this week, though, was getting his wife on board for his apology.
"The support of the wife is crucial if the scandal-plagued politician is making the argument that a scandal is a personal matter," Dagnes said. "If the wife leaves, then the argument fails."
The consequences of scandals vary from politician to politician.
Some such as Clinton and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who tried to cover up an adulterous affair in Argentina, end up facing impeachment.
Others jump before they are pushed, choosing to resign rather than continue to fight a damaging battle. Falling on the sword can also lay the groundwork for an eventual return.
"In a sense, I see resigning office as being one of those corrective actions -- showing a willingness to accept punishment and come back later and win votes," said Scott Basinger of Houston University, who researched the impact of political scandals on congressional elections.
Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor who stepped down amid a prostitution scandal in 2008, appears to be hoping he's spent enough time outside the political spotlight to win voters' approval in the race for comptroller of New York City.
But some tarnished politicians dig in and try to hold on to office. And some statistics suggest they have reason to give it a shot.
Basinger's research has found that congressmen mired in sex scandals typically lose about 5% of the vote. Still, 73% of incumbent lawmakers involved in any kind of scandal make it to general elections, and 81% of those go on to win, according to his research.
"It's damaging, but it's not fatal," he said.
Returning from the political wilderness is a daunting task, and many scandal-hit politicians choose not to attempt it.
But Sanford's success this year in winning a vacant House seat in South Carolina shows the apparent willingness of voters to look beyond past transgressions.
Sanford made his Argentinian mistress his fiancee after his wife divorced him. He even survived a controversy during his House campaign over allegations that he violated his divorce terms by trespassing at his ex-wife's beach house.
Clinton, meanwhile, moved on from the Lewinsky scandal to become a respected elder statesman of the Democratic Party.
But Weiner faces a difficult task after the eruption of the latest scandal in the midst of his much publicized comeback.
According to Basinger, the key advice on coming clean about sex scandals is contained in the title of a book by Lanny Davis, the lawyer and crisis expert who helped Clinton fight impeachment: "Truth to Tell: Tell It Early, Tell It All, Tell It Yourself: Notes From My White House Education."
By allowing more lewd revelations to leak out through a gossip website, Weiner "failed on all three of those things" that Davis' book prescribes, Basinger said.
And going in front of the cameras to say sorry is less convincing the second time around, according to Dagnes.
"One heartfelt apology works well as long as you don't have to apologize again," she said.