NOTE: I see nothing confirming this story conclusively whatsoever. At this point it is still insinuation, rumor and innuendo.
You may have been expecting yet another conservative Republican being found in a bathroom stall with a young man, but if this story pans out, you would be incorrect. The winner in this rumor derby seems to be... Hillary Clinton and her alleged special friend, campaign aide and constant companion, Huma Abedin.
A photo of Huma with Hillary. (As my mom used to say, "Eh... she could do worse.")
Some more on this.
“I am close enough to Hillary and Huma to tell you that this ‘rumor’ is true,” the official says. “It is well known inside her campaign that Hillary and Huma are an item.
“If you call Hillary’s residence in DC first thing in the morning, Huma answers the phone,” the official continues. “Same thing late at night and on the road. It’s a closely guarded secret that Hillary’s inner circle guards at all costs.”
So who is Huma? Her wikipedia entry doesn't offer very much in and of itself, but somewhat more interesting is the fact that a user submitted a request to delete her entry just this morning. Another comment in that thread identifies the person making the request, Steven Andrew Miller, as a potential "partisan deletionist" of contentious political entries. Another unfortunate fact, given our current political climate, is that Ms. Abedin is apparently a Muslim. She was born in the United states, but her family emigrated to Saudi Arabia where she remained until returning to the U.S. to go to college.
Now for the inevitable questions. Assuming that this turns out to be true and not some political stunt from the opposition, do we care, should we care, and why?
It's a double edged sword, really. On the one hand, if you are at all progressive, there is a point to be made that we should honor any one's privacy, particularly regarding what goes on in the privacy of their bedrooms. And not everyone wants to be "out."
On the other hand, politicians seem to sacrifice some of this expectation of privacy when they enter public life. And Democrats have certainly never been shy about outing Republicans when they get caught... errr.. with their pants down. Hillary is far from being one of the bible belt GOP types who chastise homosexuals constantly and invoke God's will on them. But she also doesn't exactly have a crystal record on the subject. Her husband has the Don't Ask Don't Tell issue hanging over him, as well as the Defense of Marriage Act. Her stand on gay marriage, as I recall, was to go for the weaker "support civil unions" stand rather then favoring gay marriage. Perhaps she is a valid target for such analysis in that regard.
There is also the verification issue to consider. Even if the story were true, I can't imagine anyone being able to actually pin it on her. This isn't a case of a police officer catching Hillary in a sting and being able to testify. Simply saying "Well, everyone inside the beltway knows about it" isn't enough to close the case. Assuming nobody is going to come forward with pictures of the two of them spooning in a hot tub in the Hamptons, there doesn't seem to be much leverage to apply to the story. If accused, it would seem to me that Hillary can simply say, "Huma is one of my trusted campaign aides. It's pretty much a 24/7 job, so of course we're together almost constantly. She is a good friend and invaluable to my career."
And if you're the reporter making the allegation, what do you say to that? If Hillary and Huma both stare you in the face and deny it and nobody has actually seen them engaged in any overt activity, I think your story pretty much drops dead right there. In the end, that might be one of the biggest factors in the L.A. Times not taking the story forward. (Again, this is all assuming that the Hillary - Huma connection is even the story in the first place.)
Normally, I'd say "time will tell.' In this case, time may not tell anything at all. The story may die on the vine, or it could get picked up by the conservatives as yet another cudgel to wield against the presumptive Democratic nominee. It's not like rumors about possible lesbian tendencies haven't been swirling around Clinton for years. It hasn't sunk her so far. I'm betting this won't be much of a nail in her coffin either, no matter how hard certain opposition agents pound on it.