Rep. Weiner Defiant as Odds Stack Against Him
His party is turning on him. The most intimate details of his virtual philandering are splashed all over the tabloids and Internet. He faces an ethics probe. And his wife is pregnant.
His professional life on the verge of total collapse, Rep. Anthony Weiner nevertheless seems intent on clinging to his seat as long as he can.
The congressman told The New York Post Thursday that he has no plans to leave. "I'm going to get back to work as best I can," he said.
He said he's "betrayed a lot of people" but that, "I'm going to go back to my community office and try to get some work done."
With pressure on the congressman mounting after he confessed to lying about an online sex scandal, the New York Democrat appears to be handling the situation as he handled the initial controversy over a lewd photo sent via his Twitter account -- denying it until he can't.
Strategists don't rule out the possibility of Weiner staying in office, at least until the next election. But there's not much going in Weiner's favor right now other than his raw determination to do what he says he's going to do -- in this case, not resign.
"I think that he will drag it out as long as he can," strategist Kirsten Powers, who briefly dated Weiner a decade ago, said on Fox Business Network. She said he's "not the kind of person" to step down, unless he became convinced "his political career was over."
According to The Wall Street Journal, Weiner is considering looking for guidance from a professional crisis-management consultant, after he defied the laws of crisis management by lying about his actions, cracking jokes and mocking the reporters who scrutinized him.
President Obama confidant David Axelrod said in an interview he thinks the situation "will resolve itself one way or another ... fairly quickly."
Weiner's colleagues sure hope so.
Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., cautioned Thursday that while the decision on whether to stay in office is up to Weiner, "the caucus may have something ... to say about it." He said Weiner has brought dishonor "on himself."
After staying silent for about 48 hours, several elected Democrats have started to call for Weiner to resign.
Pennsylvania Rep. Allyson Schwartz, an official with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Weiner should go, in light of his "offensive behavior online." Maine Rep. Mike Michaud said resigning would be the best move for Weiner and his family.
Massachusetts Rep. Niki Tsongas said through a spokeswoman that "it would be appropriate for Congressman Weiner to step down." Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said he thinks Weiner resigning would be in the best interests of his constituents and the U.S. House.
Arkansas' only Democratic congressman, Mike Ross, and its only Democratic senator, Mark Pryor, also joined the chorus. As did North Carolina Rep. Larry Kissell and Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly.
The calls came after former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine called for Weiner to go.
The White House had no comment on the controversy Wednesday. Current DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has likewise offered no public remarks on the controversy.
Meanwhile, officials confirmed that Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife and a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is about three months pregnant. Weiner said at the news conference that the couple did not intend to split over the scandal. Abedin departed Wednesday with Clinton on an official trip to the Mideast and Africa.
The controversy does not appear to be dying down, with a possible ethics committee investigation on the horizon and more salacious details emerging about his online indiscretions.
Gennette Cordova, the Seattle college student to whom Weiner sent a lewd photo via Twitter, broke her silence in an interview with The New York Times. She said she had never sent him any "suggestive" messages, and was taken aback when he sent her a picture of his bulging underwear.
Making matters worse, an image that supposedly shows Weiner's genitals was posted online Wednesday by a shock jock. The photo was in conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart's custody, and Breitbart claims the radio host took a picture of it without his permission.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.