Posts tagged Anthony Weiner
Anthony Weiner Seeks Treatment, Requests Leave Of Absence As Top Democrats Call For Resignation.
WASHINGTON — House Democratic leadership issued a deafening rebuke of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) midday Saturday, calling on the embattled New York Democrat to resign from his post amid growing controversy over his lewd online activity.
In successive statements, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged Weiner to conduct his rehabilitation outside the confines of public office. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) the ranking member of the Budget Committee and former DCCC head, followed with the same request 45 minutes later.
“Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help,” said Pelosi, whose word carries the most weight of the group. “I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress.”
Shortly after the calls for resignation were delivered, reports emerged that Weiner was, indeed, checking into a treatment center — though where and for what precisely (depression? addiction?) wasn’t immediately clear.
Weiner’s office put out a statement confirming those reports and announcing that he had requested a “short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well.”
Earlier reports suggested that Weiner had no immediate intention of resigning. “Congressman Weiner takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision possible for himself, his family and his constituents,” the statement from his office continued.
The latest chapter in an increasingly lurid saga came as Weiner had been declining private and, occasionally, public pleas for him to step down. The congressman’s defenders noted that his lewd interactions over Twitter and Facebook — while personally embarrassing -– neither constituted a breach of law nor interfered (at the time) with his ability to conduct his job.
According to several well-placed Democratic sources on the Hill, the situation changed on Friday night, when it was reported that police were investigating direct online communications between Weiner and a 17-year-old girl. The nature of those conversations wasn’t known. The congressman’s office insisted that they were “neither explicit nor indecent.”
But House members were clearly bothered by the newest revelations. And with lawmakers returning to Washington D.C. after a recess, the decision was made to have a coordinated call for Weiner’s resignation.
"The pressure was building," said one top Democratic aide, "with the Sunday shows tomorrow and members coming back on Monday… the [17-year-old] story was the last straw."
Another aide said that leadership alerted Weiner, before the fact, that they would be calling for his resignation.
The concern now, among some Democrats, is that the party may have waited too long. Rather than come out quickly with calls for Weiner to resign, they allowed his saga to distract from their efforts to keep The Republican Party’s Medicare reform plan in the news. “They should have thrown this guy to the sharks days ago,” said one top operative who consults with House members.
On the flip side is a vocal and not entirely insignificant number of Democrats who believe that the party should let Weiner ride his personal storm. Pointing to the current, elected, status of Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) they note, correctly, that the best recipe for surviving a scandal is perseverance and time.
Unfortunately for those like-minded Democrats, official party leadership appears to have little willingness to walk that route. One aide suggested that if Weiner refused to step down, even in light of the Saturday statements, Pelosi would remove him from his committees.
“Anthony’s inappropriate behavior has become an insurmountable distraction to the House and our work for the American people,” said Israel in a statement. “With a heavy heart, I call on Anthony to resign. I pray for his family and hope that Anthony will take time to get the help he needs without the distractions and added pressures of Washington, DC.”
Anthony Weiner Resignation Calls Mount From Both Sides In Wake Of Photo Scandal.
WASHINGTON — Embattled New York Rep. Anthony 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 – and the first calls from fellow Democrats for him to step down.
"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.
Separately, as the political scandal increasingly roiled the Democratic Party, several officials said that Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, was pregnant. An official at the State Department, where Abedin serves as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, had no comment. Abedin was traveling with Clinton on an official trip to the Mideast and Africa.
Weiner, 46, has admitted sending explicit photos and messages via the Internet to about a half-dozen women over the past three years. He vowed at a news conference on Monday to remain in office, and one lawmaker who spoke to him on Wednesday said Weiner indicated he still hopes 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.
The Associated Press has not been able to independently confirm that the photo is of Weiner. On Wednesday, spokeswoman Risa B. Heller noted in a statement that Weiner had said at a news conference on Monday that he “has sent explicit photos. To reiterate, he has never met any of these women or had physical contact with them.”
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.”
By day’s end Wednesday, at least six House Democrats had called for Weiner to step down.
Schwartz was the first, and politically the most significant because of her position as a senior leader on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Weiner’s predicament has rocked the Democratic Party, particularly the women who hold leadership posts and have faced a choice between calling for a resignation or hoping that refraining from doing so would lead him to quit without being told.
In the interim, few pass up the chance to signal to Weiner that he should step down.
The head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Sen. Patty Murray, told reporters during the day that Weiner’s troubles “of course” complicate the party’s efforts ahead of in the 2012 elections.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. said, “I just view it with great surprise and dismay. That’s all I can say.”
Feinstein and Murray were first elected to the Senate in 1992, the so-called Year of the Women that was a watershed in Democratic political history.
The party’s leader in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California has called for an ethics committee investigation to see whether Weiner’s actions violated any House rules.
Pelosi and the party’s chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, declined to respond directly on Tuesday when the Republican chairman, Reince Priebus, urged them to say whether they believe Weiner should step down.
The Democratic National Committee has adamantly refused to comment, while a spokesman in Wasserman Schultz’s congressional office has said only that she supports Pelosi’s call for an ethics investigation. By contrast, the former Democratic Party chairman, Tim Kaine, has urged Weiner to quit. Kaine is running for the Senate in Virginia.
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.
The officials who spoke about the telephone calls did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were private matters.
Anthony Weiner’s Survival Chances Deemed Slim By Insiders, Experts.
WASHINGTON — It was only fitting that the circus surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner’s admission on Monday that he had, in fact, sent lewd messages to random females over Twitter ended with a lewd question referencing a wiener.
"Were you fully erect?" an apparent plant from a shock jock radio show shouted as the New York Democrat ended a painful apology news conference in New York City’s Sheraton Hotel.
Tent pole jokes aside, the inquisitor highlighted a remarkable fact: A man regarded as one of the smartest strategists in Democratic politics and a likely 2013 New York City mayoral frontrunner had fallen from the rising star to national punch line in less than a week.
And the embarrassing scandal inevitably raised the question of whether the career of a politician — even one as skilled as many thought Weiner was — could survive it. A quick poll of New York politicos and D.C. pundits found few saying he could. But they also noted a geopolitical factor that worked to his advantage: This is New York — stranger things have happened.
"He needs to have a multi-year commitment to a comeback strategy," said Chris Lehane, a Democratic operative and oft-described crisis communications expert with experience in the Clinton White House. "I’d tell him that you have to realize it will take you multiple years to get back to the position you were in just a week ago."
Weiner may realize that much. Indeed, the congressman vowed he would win back the trust of his constituents over time. But even in New York City that will be tough, requiring a sort of discipline that many who are familiar with Weiner do not think he possesses.
"He ought to have a goal about not thinking about a political renewal but a personal renewal. If he does anything that looks like he is trying to rehabilitate himself, that would be a terrible mistake," said Lanny Davis, the crisis management guru who was brought into the Clinton orbit to handle the ex-president’s own lewd conduct. "The last thing he should be talking about is political rehabilitation. That is a terrible mistake. This is not about his political career."