After 10 days of stonewalling, waffling, and outright lying, Rep. Anthony Weiner finally came clean today, admitting that he had inappropriate online relationships with at least six women.
Choking back tears and his eyes rimmed with red, the Democratic New York congressman admitted sending a lewd picture of himself to Seattle co-ed Gennette Cordova and acknowledged that there could be even more graphic X-rated photos of him out there.
But he said he would not resign his House seat, saying he had done nothing to violate his oath of office or the Constitution.
However, Newsmax Chief Washington Correspondent Ronald Kessler says Weiner should step down.
“Rep. Weiner has now lost all credibility,” Kessler said. “Can you imagine if George Bush had done anything like this? Given that he has engaged in shameful conduct and become a laughingstock, Weiner is left with no choice now but to resign.”
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Weiner appeared totally contrite during the news conference and stood his ground amid a barrage of questions, repeatedly apologizing to his wife, Huma Abedin, whom he married only last July.
“I made terrible mistakes and have hurt the people I care about the most and I am deeply sorry.
“I have not been honest with myself, my family or my constituents.”
Weiner, who represents parts of the New York boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, admitted he had gotten caught up in a web of lies because he was embarrassed that he had accidentally sent the now-infamous picture of his bulging gray undershorts to 45,000 of his followers on Twitter, when it had been intended as a private message to Cordova, a 21-year-old journalism student.
Cordova “bears no responsibility” for the scandal, he said.
“I came here to accept full responsibility for what I have done,” he told journalists packed into the ballroom of a Sheraton hotel in Manhattan. “I don’t know what I was thinking, it was a destructive thing to do.”
And he said the cover-up just made things worse. “I regret not being honest about this. It was a big mistake. I was embarrassed, humiliated. I still am to this minute. I was trying to protect my wife and myself and I regret that."
Weiner said his wife did not know the whole truth until this morning, even though she was aware that he had engaged in so-called “sexting” before their marriage.
“She was very unhappy, very disappointed, and she told me so,” Weiner said as he choked back tears.
Abedin was not at the news conference, and the one question that Weiner refused to answer was her whereabouts. But he said they still love each other and do not intend to split up.
Weiner was adamant that he would not resign, unlike married Republican Rep. Chris Lee, who quit in February within hours of a shirtless picture of himself emerging that he had sent a woman he had met on Craigslist.
But he admitted that he could have a hard time persuading constituents to vote for him at the next election or in 2013 when he had planned to run for New York mayor.
Today’s news conference came on a day when the “Weinergate” scandal erupted with two new revelations. First, conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart published pictures that Weiner now admits he sent to a woman.
One showed him shirtless, another seemingly innocent picture of him sitting with his two cats had a caption dripping with double entendre.
Breitbart claims he had other pictures that are far more explicit but said he was holding off from publishing them.
Then the tabloid website RadarOnline reported that a middle-aged Nevada woman had claimed that she had exchanged about 200 explicit text messages with the congressman and had had a 30-minute phone sex session with him.
The woman told Radar that she had called the number back and got a recorded message saying it was an outgoing line from Congress, which still could come back to haunt Weiner as he said during the new conference that he had never used government resources to pursue the women.
To add to the bizarre nature of the news conference, Breitbart commandeered the podium before Weiner’s appearance, to explain why he had pursued the story so aggressively. Later when pressed repeatedly, Weiner apologized to Breitbart by name for not coming clean earlier.
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