Anthony Weiner Resigns: 'Distraction' Makes It Impossible to Stay

By Chris Good

A bizarre scandal, one that could only have happened in the social-media era, has apparently come to an end, as Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) announced on Thursday that he will resign from the House of Representatives.

"I'm here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused. I made this apology to my neighbors and constituents, but I make it in particular to my wife, Huma," Weiner said at senior center in Brooklyn, where he launched his political career with a run for City Council.

I had hoped to be able to continue the work that my constituents elected me to do," Weiner said. "Unfortunately the distraction that I have created has made that impossible, so today I am announcing my resignation from Congress.

At least one person cheered when Weiner announced his resignation. The press conference carried a strange and distracted ambiance, as Weiner talked over repeated outbursts from a heckler, who yelled out such questions as, "Were you fully erect?" and "Are you at least seven inches?" before members of the press corps shouted him down. One reporter yelled out, "He's not with us, get him out of here."

Weiner's scandal began on May 26, when Andrew Breitbart's Big Government blog posted the initial lewd photo, tweeted from Weiner's account to Gennette Nicole Cordova, a student in Washington state. Weiner then misled the public and the media for about a week, saying in multiple interviews that his Twitter account had been hacked, and that he had not sent the photo. Weiner finally admitted to tweeting the photo, and to keeping up flirtations with several women, at a surreal press conference last Monday.

Democratic leaders, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, called on Weiner to resign this past Saturday. On Monday, President Obama told NBC that, if he were Weiner, "I would resign."

The House ethics committee had taken initial steps to begin an investigation into whether Weiner violated House rules or misappropriated resources to come onto women online. A tipping point may have come last week, when the Las Vegas Sun revealed that Weiner had contacted a 17-year-old girl online.

Weiner had resisted pressure, announcing he would seek treatment at an undisclosed location as he waited to speak with his wife, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, about whether he should leave his present job.

It's unclear what Weiner will do next, as few people may want to hire him, though it's already been speculated that Weiner will end up with a TV career, a la fellow New York Democrat Eliot Spitzer.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/06/anthony-weiner-resigns-distraction-makes-it-impossible-to-stay/240582/