Reporting John Montone
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The shocking revelations in his Twitter sex scandal keep coming and so do calls for Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign.
Weiner’s prospects for political survival dimmed precipitously on Wednesday with the appearance on the Internet of an X-rated photo said to be of the congressman. The revelation came as news spread from several officials who said that Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, was pregnant.
“I betrayed a lot of people and I know it, and I’m trying to get back to work now,” Weiner said in an interview with the New York Post.
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The congressman spoke after a lengthy session with his lawyers at Rockefeller Center, presumably trying to develop a strategy to keep his job, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
For a man who initially tried to lie his way of out the mess, the questions Thursday concerned whether there were any more lewd pictures that might surface. The answer was not exactly responsive.
“I’ve exchanged inappropriate things with people, and I think that now I’ve got to deal with those consequences,” Weiner told the Post.
One of those consequences is trying to patch things up with his wife, who was half a world away in Abu Dhabi on a trip with her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Abedin, the longtime aide to Secretary Clinton, is 10 weeks pregnant with the couple’s first child, and she has remained silent about the controversy surrounding her husband. Weiner’s marriage, and Abedin’s pregnancy, were two things the embattled congressman did not want to discuss Thursday.
The latest developments in the “Weinergate” sexting scandal also have Democrats taking evasive action. There are a half-dozen Democratic House members who are now joining Republicans, calling for Rep. Weiner’s resignation.
“In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior online, he should resign,” Pennsylvania Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a member of the party campaign committee’s leadership, said in a statement that was quickly followed by similar expressions from other Democrats.
The concern is the potential for a full-blown political crisis for the entire Democratic party, which hopes to retake the House next year.
“He has to talk to people in his district,” said Jay Jacobs, NY State Democratic Chairman. “He has to see whether his chances of remaining a congressman are viable.”
A new poll suggests that voters in Weiner’s 9th Congressional District are still in his corner.
Fifty-six percent of registered voters in the district did not think the embattled congressman should resign, while 33 percent said he should.
However, there’s still concern about how effective Weiner will be after the alleged self-portrait of his privates became public.
Forty-eight percent of voters said they think Weiner can still work effectively for them, while 43 percent said he will not be effective in the future.
One lawmaker, who spoke to him on Wednesday, said Weiner indicated he still hoped to ride out the furor and remain in Congress. That lawmaker spoke on condition of anonymity, saying it was a private conversation.
But the appearance of a photo of a man’s genitals added yet another aspect to what appears to be a sex scandal without actual sex in the age of social media. According to conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, Weiner sent the picture of himself to one of the women with whom he corresponded online.
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The photo made its way to the website Gawker by a circuitous route, after Breitbart showed it to the hosts of Sirius XM radio’s “Opie and Anthony Show.”
One of the women whom Weiner sexted, Lisa Weiss, a 40-year-old blackjack dealer from Las Vegas, said the online relationship started as flirtations, and he escalated the graphic comments.
“Yes. I was very shocked at the beginning. … I would want to talk politics,” she said in an interview on Inside Edition. “But he would turn it creepy.”
By day’s end Wednesday, at least six House Democrats had called for Weiner to step down.
While declining to make any public comments since Monday, Weiner has been on something of an apology tour by telephone. He has contacted fellow House members and former President Bill Clinton, who officiated at the congressman’s wedding to Abedin nearly a year ago.
Meanwhile, Abedin is said to be determined to remain married to Weiner. Washington Post national political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson said friends of the 34-year-old Abedin said not to read too much into her absence from Weiner’s side.
“Her friends say this is obviously a bump in the road for her marriage,” Henderson told Kramer. “[But] she’s very committed to her husband, she loves her husband, and she wants to work it out.”
If Weiner doesn’t resign, there’s also the option that his congesssional seat could be eliminated.
The state is slated to lose two congressional seats during redistricting. It’s widely assumed each party would give up a seat and one would come from upstate and one from downstate.
“If he refuses to resign, what might wind up happening is they just eliminate his seat in redistricting,” said political consultant Joseph Mercurio.
Then Republicans would have to make a decision about upstate.
What’s next for Weiner? Will more pictures come out? Should he resign? Sound off below in our comments section…
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