NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayoral candidate and former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner responded apologetically Tuesday following revelations of another alleged cybersex relationship, but said he is not going anywhere when it comes to the mayoral race.
“I want to bring my vision to the City of New York,” Weiner, a Democrat, said at a news conference with his wife, Huma Abedin, by his side late Tuesday afternoon. “I hope they are still willing to give me a second chance.”
Anthony Weiner And His Wife Address The Latest Sexting Allegations: Watch The Press Conference Here
Weiner began the news conference by reading a statement he had released earlier.
“I have said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have. As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress. While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong,” Weiner said in his statement. “This behavior is behind me. I’ve apologized to Huma and am grateful that she has worked through these issues with me and for her forgiveness. I want to again say that I am very sorry to anyone who was on the receiving end of these messages and the disruption that this has caused. As my wife and I have said, we are focused on moving forward together.”
Weiner would not go into details about the specifics of the claims.
“One of the things I’m not going to do is I’m not going to get into a back-and-forth with people about these things and whether they are true or not,” Weiner said.
But his tone was contrite.
“Let me reiterate how sorry I am to the people that got these messages, for any inconvenience or embarrassment they caused,” he said.
Abedin also spoke about her husband and his scandals.
“Really what I want to say is, I love him. I have forgiven him. I believe in him. And as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward,” she said.
Abedin said it was “not an easy choice” to stay with her husband, but she made the decision to do so.
“I didn’t know how it would work out,” she said. “But I didn’t know that I wanted to give it a try.”
She conceded that her husband had made “some serious mistakes – both before he resigned from Congress and after.”
In speaking to reporters, Abedin was calm and smiled occasionally, but began her remarks by saying she was nervous because she had not appeared at such a news conference before.
Weiner said repairing his relationship with his wife – a former aide to Hillary Clinton – was more important than his choice to resign from Congress.
“I’m glad these things are behind us,” he said.
The latest sexting allegations hit the headlines when a woman claimed anonymously this week to the gossip site “The Dirty” that she exchanged lewd photos and had explicit phone conversations with Weiner. She said the messaging took place after the scandal that led him to resign from Congress in 2011.
The woman told the website she was 22 when Weiner began the online relationship. Site editor Nik Ritchie wrote that the woman claimed Weiner and the woman “had a relationship for six months, and she believed they were in love.”
The relationship reportedly continued into last summer, CBS 2 ‘s Marcia Kramer reported.
Baruch College School of Public Affairs professor Micheline Blum said the new allegations do not reflect well on Weiner.
“This is bad because of the timeline, because this happened after he resigned – and presumably when he was apologizing and in treatment, and it was supposedly over,” she said. “That can’t help, and it’s got to make New Yorkers feel that maybe there’s more out there.”
Weiner allegedly used the pseudonym “Carlos Danger” in the conversations, the website reported.
In one of the cleaner sexts, Weiner reportedly tells the woman: “Sadly my pics are out there to look at. Have you ever?”
The woman replies: “Yes. And I must say I was quite impressed.”
“You are a walking fantasy,” Weiner says in another reported text.
“I don’t want to be just a fantasy,” the woman replies. “I want to take care of your every need.”
Many of the other texts went into graphic details about imagined sex acts between Weiner and the woman – using explicit terms for genitals and sex acts.
The woman claimed that Weiner offered to help her get a condo in the fashionable South Loop section of Chicago “without me asking,” according to “The Dirty.”
Weiner allegedly suggested they could meet and have sexual relations at the condo, the report said.
Weiner also promised the woman a job at a political website, the report added.
The site published a censored picture allegedly supplied by the woman, which she claimed was of Weiner’s genitals.
“I was young and dumb,” the woman told the site. “I just want people to really know he’s lying when he acts like he has changed.”
At the news conference, Weiner dismissed calls for him to withdraw from the mayoral race.
“I’m sure that many of my opponents would like me to drop out of the race,” he told a reporter.
Three mayoral candidates said just that earlier Tuesday afternoon.
“Enough is enough,” tweeted city Comptroller and fellow Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. “I’m calling on Anthony to withdraw from this race — for the good of the city that I know he loves as much as all of us.”
Added Democratic candidate and former City Councilman Sal Albanese: “From the moment he entered the race, I’ve said that Tony Weiner was unfit to serve as mayor of our great city. Today, that is clearer than ever.”
Albanese accused Weiner of having a track record of “misleading” constituents, and “just 49 days before the election, he admits that he misled us again.
“Unfortunately, my other opponents have danced around the issue,” he said in the statement. “I’m not going to do that. I’m calling for Anthony Weiner to do right by New Yorkers and withdraw from the race.”
Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis also called on Weiner should withdraw.
“The Mayor of New York City should be a leader that all the residents of our city, especially our children, can look up to,” Catsimatidis said in a statement. “Anthony Weiner should do what is right for his family and our city and drop out of the race for mayor so we can end this soap opera.”
The New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women joined the call for Weiner to quit the race.
“As if we didn’t already have enough evidence of Anthony Weiner’s utter lack of judgment, impulse control and honesty, these latest revelations show the degree to which his candidacy distracts us from the important business of choosing the next leader of New York City,” Sonia Ossorio, President of NOW-NYC, said in a news release. “He is clearly and compellingly unfit for public office and the sooner comes to this realization, the better for the people of New York.”
Some pundits also reacted to word of Weiner’s latest sexting scandal.
“It’s jaw-dropping, it’s astounding that this guy continued in his perverse behavior and then expects folks to forgive him for it and vote him into office. It’s just, it’s mind-blowing,” Baruch College political science professor Doug Muzzio told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
New York City voters also reacted to the latest scandal Tuesday afternoon.
“Personal and politics should be kept separate,” said Jackie Valero of Astoria, Queens, who said she would still consider voting for him.
But Ashley Baharestani of Forest Hills, Queens, was not so sure.
“I think it definitely makes me hesitant as a voter, showing that he’s subject to this controversy again that was settled six months ago, and he’s back at his same actions,” she said. “So I don’t know if I could trust him making decisions for me as a tax paying citizen.”
Experts told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider that Abedin’s decision to speak out on Tuesday was understandable.
“She has been in this political game for many years, she’s worked with the Clintons, she understands how the game is going and how it works,” sex therapist and relationship expert Dr. Judy Kuriansky said. “It makes perfect sense from her point of view that she forgives him, they’re giving marriage another chance.”
Other New Yorkers said that they admired Abedin’s strength.
“I thought they handled it really well and seemed like they were mending things,” said Marissa Fassano from Crown Heights. “I thought it was private, none of my business and good for them.”
Weiner resigned from Congress in June 2011 after tweeting a lewd picture of himself and lying about his account being hacked. He later admitted trading inappropriate messages with several women.
In announcing his run for mayor this past spring, Weiner admitted to “making mistakes and letting many people down.”
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