After Democratic leaders and the White House pressured him to step down, the embattled N.Y. lawmaker will announce today he's leaving Congress
Rep. Anthony Weiner, the embattled New York Democrat whose online "sextual" escapades spawned an odd and a drawn out Washington political scandal, plans to resign his House seat after nearly two weeks of painfully trying to resist the mounting calls for him to step aside that drew in even President Obama, The New York Times reports.
Weiner, who represented part of Brooklyn and Queens in New York City, was a hero to many liberals and a ubiquitous presence on cable TV, loudly and defiantly defending the values and positions of the political left. For the last two weeks, however he has been dealing with a crisis born out of revelations about his tragic-comic obsession with sexting that drove him to send lewd pictures of himself and engage in sexual banter with women on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
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Weiner finally stepped down after a tortured series of events that had him insisting he either didn't do things that he did or wouldn't do something he just did - and eventually requesting and obtaining a two-week leave of absence from the House on Monday to get professional help.
He had steadfastly said that he would not resign.
But his problems grew more complicated in recent days when he admitted through a non-government spokesman Friday that he had engaged in internet conversations with a 17-year-old Delaware girl. That statement came after local police had interviewed the girl about her contact with Weiner.
Weiner - suddenly responding to the news only through a public relations consultant and no longer through his congressional staff - insisted that the internet conversations were not sexual or inappropriate. But merely the fact he had had such contact with a teen seemed to bring his troubles to a critical mass, and prompted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats to join the calls for him to resign.
Instead, Weiner announced through his publicist Saturday that he would be seeking a leave of absence from Congress to get professional treatment, to help him get well, and make the best decision for himself, his family, and his constituents.
But even then came the surfacing of more lewd photos of the Congressman reportedly sent to a woman, prompting added unease among his colleagues over whether his troubles were significantly staining Democrats politically, and overshadowing their legislative work, such as efforts to combat Republican Medicare proposals.
Weiner did request and receive his two-week leave Monday, but his case for wanting to wait to get treatment to decide on his future certainly wasn't helped when President Obama told NBC on Monday that he would resign if he were Weiner. Also came word that the House Ethics Committee was looking into his activities. By Tuesday morning, talk from colleagues was that he finally was seriously considering resigning, but waiting to first talk to his wife, Huma Abedin about it. Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, had been traveling through Wednesday overseas with Clinton.
Weiner's troubles began two weeks ago when he accidentally published an erotic photograph of himself on Twitter instead of sending it privately to a college student as he had intended. Initially, Weiner denied that he had sent the photograph and claimed that someone had hacked his Twitter account.
Weiner, 46, had hoped to finish his seventh term in Congress before running again for New York City mayor in 2013 - where his road to victory was anything but certain or clear. Weiner finished second in the 2005 Democratic primary to Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer and appeared intent on fueling his bid for mayor with TV appearances and the campaign cash they tend to generate, but those dreams now seem remote, as Weiner's political career lies in the smoking ruins of his libidinous tweets and lewd Facebook messages he exchanged with women he met online. Weiner was forced to confront the reality that his political future was in shambles.