New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 8, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
herald-zeitung.COM | Wednesdayjune 8, 2011 | 9ADems turn back on WeinerEmbattled congressman’s career in jeopardy
ellow Democrats pointedly refused to defend Rep. Anthony Weiner on Tuesday, telegraphing an unmistakable eagerness for him to resign after he admitted sending a lewd photo of himself to a woman via Twitter and lying about it. Republicans swiftly sought political profit from the New York Democrat's predicament, which threatened to deepen when conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart said he had a sexually explicit photo of the 46-year-old congressman.
His political career in extreme jeopardy, Weiner had no public appearances. His spokesman did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
On Monday, after days of denials, the New York lawmaker admitted he had engaged in "several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, email and occasionally on the phone with women I had met online."
Alternately apologetic and defiant, he said he neither met nor had physical relationships with any of them, and added, "I am not resigning."
In fact, there is little that party leaders can do to force an errant lawmaker to quit, although House Republicans have moved decisively in the past year to purge their ranks of two men who wound up in embarrassing situations.
Most Democrats maintained an uncomfortable silence about Weiner's future, part of what several senior congressional officials described as a hope that over a few days, Weiner would reconsider his refusal to resign. If not, several noted pointedly, his district might be eliminated when lines are adjusted before the 2012 elections to account for a population shift that will cost New York two House seats.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid broke the silence. "I wish there were some way that I can defend him, but I can't," the Nevada Democrat told reporters. Asked what he would do if Weiner called for advice, he replied he would tell him "call somebody else."
Republicans sought political gain.
"Congressman Weiner's actions and deception are unacceptable and he should resign," GOP party chairman Reince Priebus said in a written statement.
"We do not need an investigation to know he lied and acted inappropriately, we need a resignation," he said, referring to a request from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for the House ethics committee to investigate the case.
Speaking of Pelosi and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the Democratic party chairwoman, Priebus said they either "believe members of Congress are held to a different set of standards or they believe these actions demand his resignation."
Brad Woodhouse, a Democratic National Committee spokesman, referred a request for a comment to Wasserman Schultz's House office. He said the issue was a congressional one, but her spokesman declined comment on whether Weiner should resign.
Separately, the Republican House and Senate campaign organizations called on Democrats to return donations Weiner had made to them.
"Does... Democrat Senate candidate joe Donnelly (D-IN) plan to return the $5,000 he took from his friend Weiner in order to fund his political campaigns?" asked the National Republican Senatorial Committee. There was no immediate reply from Donnelly, a second-term House member who recently announced he would run for the Senate in 2012.
In the House, Democratic Rep.
Betty Sutton of Ohio said through an aide she would donate to charity a $1,000 contribution she received from Weiner last year.
Demanding the return of cash
from troubled donors has become a standard political tactic in recent years, practiced by both parties.
But the other facts in Weiner's case were anything but routine.
Instead, they reflected the growing impact of social media and little-known websites on tne political fortunes of the nation's most powerful elected officials, in this case, a man with ambitions of becoming mayor of New York City.
Despite fielding numerous questions on Monday, some of them intensely personal about his marriage, Weiner left gaps at his news conference.
He said he could not guarantee that none of the women with whom he exchanged salacious pictures or messages was underage.
Asked whether he had phone sex, he sidestepped. "I was never in the same room as them, I never — had any physical relationship whatever," he said.
Asked whether he could guarantee there was no X-rated photo in existence of himself, he replied, "No, I cannot."
That issue was first broached by Breitbart, who showed up at Weiner's news conference on Monday before the congressman did.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Breitbart said he had not yet released a sexually explicit photo taken of the congressman unclothed.
He said he would consider releasing the picture if he concludes that Weiner's staff tries to disparage any of the women with whom the congressman flirted online.
"Under the circumstances that those women that he's had these consensual relationships, that their personal information would start to be leaked from his team, I would strongly consider releasing the photo if he wants to make this an attack on these innocent women," he said.
At his news conference, Weiner apologized to the women and to all he misled with his earlier denials, but
most often to his wife, Huma Abedin, who was not present.
u.$.From ‘no’ to ‘sorry’
NEW YORK (AP)
The evolution of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner's statements regarding pnotos of him that were tweeted to a woman and others that were sent to a second woman.
Spokesman Dave Arnold tells The Associated Press in an email that the New York Democrat was a victim.
"Anthony's accounts were obviously hacked," Arnold says. "He doesn't know the person named by the hacker, and we will be consulting on wnat steps to take next."
Weiner later jokes about it on Twitter, asking whether his kitchen blender would be next to "attack" him.
Arnold says Weiner believes it was a prank and he's retained a lawyer to advise him on what civil or criminal actions should be taken.
At a combative news conference, Weiner refuses to talk about the photo.
"We know for sure I didn't send this photograph," the seven-term congressman tells reporters in the Capitol. He tells MSNBC he 'can't say with certitude' that the waist-down photo showing a man's bulging underpants wasn't of him.
"We don't know where the photograph came from. We don't know for sure what's on it."
"I'm not sure I want to put national, federal resources into trying to figure out who posted a picture on Weiner's weosite, uh, whatever. I'm not really sure it rises, no pun intended, to that level."
"If it turns out there's something larger going on here, we'll take the requisite steps." June 2-5
Weiner is out of the public eye, failing to march in New York's Celebrate Israel Parade, a must for New York's politicians, especially Democrats.
"This was me doing a dumb thing, and doing it repeatedly, and lying about it," says a teary Weiner at a news conference that started with the conservative blogger who first published the photos, Andrew Breitbart, claiming the congressman had attacked his credibility.
Weiner confesses that he tweeted a lewd photo of himself to a young woman and admitted "inappropriate" exchanges with six women.
He calls the underpants photo a joke and a "hugely regrettable mistake."
"I haven't told the truth and have done things I deeply regret. I brought pain to people I care about."
Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y,
Voters say Weiner can survive lewd photo scandal
NEW YORK (AP)
Really, incredibly, stunningly stupid.
Voters in Rep. Anthony Weiner's home district in Brooklyn and Queens shook their heads in disbelief about the news that Weiner tearfully admitted to posting lewa photos of himself to women online. But most said Monday he would — and should — politically survive, saying they had voted for him before and would again. The seven-term Democratic congressman may have done something dumb, voters outside his district office in Queens said, but it wasn't criminal.
Weiner's confession to lying about posting a photo of his crotch on Twitter had been blown "way out of proportion," said Ralph Sepulveda, a 58-year-old film editor.
Weiner's record of fighting for his district balances his poor personal judgment,
"Politically I think he's very smart and I value his contributions to our Congress," he said. "It was really stupid. I just don't think it's grounds for him to resign."
Sevan Jacoby, a 56-year-old airline supervisor and Weiner supporter, said constituent services and policy decisions outweigh the revelations about his personal life, however salacious.
"As long as he's doing what he's supposed to politic a 11 y, who are we to judge?" said jacoby, a Democrat. "Men will be men. Let his wife worry about it."
David Kraus, a 39-year-old restaurant manager, said a person's attempt to recover from a mistake is often more telling than the action itself.
"I think he did the right thing," said Kraus, a Democratic voter. "I kind of respected it at the end,"
because Weiner seemed raw and honest as he delivered his televised remarks.lf that's the worst thing he's
done, I don't have a problem. He didn't do anything except make himself look stupid."
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