By Candy Crowley, CNN Chief Political Correspondent
There is nothing good to say about a scandal involving 12 Secret Service agents in a foreign country in advance of a presidential trip with 20 prostitutes and too much liquor.
"It included two supervisors," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. "That is particularly shocking and appalling."
Widespread respect for the Secret Service in general helps blunt the impact. It also helps that Director Mark Sullivan seems well-versed in the rules of Scandal Handling 101.
Rule 1: The best defense is lightning-speed offense.
"[The agents involved] are gone, half of them, and I think others will be leaving shortly," U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, told me Sunday.
Rule 2: Whatever you've got, put it out there.
"From every indication I've seen, from the moment this scandal broke until now, there's no attempt to cover anything over," U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, told NBC.
Rule 3: Information is the coin of the realm in Washington - keep in touch.
Members of Congress filled the Sunday talk shows with information they got directly from the director. U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, said she had spoken with Sullivan the night before.
And don't forget the boss.
"The president has confidence in Director Sullivan and the agency," David Axelrod, President Barack Obama's re-election campaign communications director, said Sunday.
It's the worst Secret Service scandal in history. The president's security might not have been compromised, but it certainly could have been.FULL STORY
Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight Cmte., discusses the latest in the investigation into Secret Service officers.
Cummings said "it's a sad situation," but one their committee takes "very seriously. This is our watch."
"I have said to the director, look, it's not only important that you be excellent, but we also don't want people to even imagine, imagine that they can pierce the shield of the Secret Service. ... I know that there are a lot of folks who are perhaps looking for opportunities to do harm to the president or others that the Secret Service, you know, guard. And you never know what they think that is a moment of weakness, Candy, that's the time that they may think that they can act."
He also said the committee isn't just looking at the Secret Service: "Our committee is going to be looking at DOD. We're sending a letter to them, trying to figure out what role they played in all of this, too."
David Axelrod weighs in on the GSA and Secret Service scandals.
"I was surprised by it. ... In my experience the Secret Service has been completely professional, so impressive. I always felt like they were willing to do anything to protect the president and the people around the president, and so this was really disappointing.
Obviously we have to get to the bottom of it, but those problems should not denigrate the efforts of so many who do such a good job"