Updated at 12:43 a.m., June 2, 2011
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Wednesday afternoon, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner refused to deny that he’s the one in the lewd photo that was sent to a college student. But later that night opened the door to the very real possibility that it could, indeed, be him.
In a live cable news interview he acknowledged it might be a private picture of him that ended up on a public Twitter account.
He told the interviewer, “It could be.”
It was another weird turn in a story that seems to get more bizarre by the day.
Earlier in the day, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer asked the six-term Democrat the $64,000 question that is at the center of the so-called “Weinergate” Twitter scandal.
“The picture” in question is the one of a man’s bulging underwear that was sent from the congressman’s Twitter account to a pretty coed. On Wednesday afternoon, Weiner wouldn’t say with certainty whether it was or wasn’t him.
“Well, we’re going to try to find out exactly what happened. My system was hacked into. The photograph does not look familiar to me but before I say anything I want to make sure that it wasn’t manipulated, that something wasn’t dropped in to my account,” Rep. Weiner said at the time.
Weiner continued to bob and dodge, even after his friend, comedian Jon Stewart, hinted that he was in a unique position to judge whether the bulging briefs belonged to the congressman.
When advised that most people would know whether a picture is of them or not, Weiner quipped, “Jon Stewart might have had it right last night, that it didn’t look like me for embarrassing reasons.”
It was the recently married Weiner, who wants to be the New York City’s next mayor, doing big-time damage control.
“This was a hoax. It was committed on me. It was relatively easy to do, making fun of my name,” Weiner said.
“I’m going to have to ask that we follow some rules here and one of them is going to be you ask the questions, I do the answers. Does that seem reasonable?” Weiner told a group of reporters.
But when pushed to give an answer, Weiner cranked up the intensity a bit.
“That would be perfectly reasonable, perfectly reasonable. You do the questions. I do the answers. That jackass interrupts me,” Weiner said.
The outburst was reminiscent of a heated discussion on the House floor last summer between Weiner and Congressman Peter King over a health bill for 9/11 responders.
“I will not yield to the gentleman!” Weiner screamed during that memorable exchange.
The political implications, dodging questions of the picture and refusing to explain why he follows a bevy of women on Twitter could affect his future political ambitions.
“It’s a culture of gossip and entertainment and Anthony Weiner has now found himself as the butt of gossip and entertainment,” political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said.
“For the time being it casts pallor on whether he can be a reasonable candidate for mayor, too many questions. Ultimately, people will forgive Twitter but they won’t forgive not coming clean.”
Sheinkopf said the longer the Twitter scandal goes on, the bigger the damage.
“This could be the end of a career but who knows?” Sheinkopf said.
The congressman said he has hired the Washington DC law firm of Baker Hostettler to sort the whole thing out and help him decide his next step. He also said his new wife is four-square behind him.
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