NEW YORK – His political career in jeopardy, Rep. Anthony Weiner has been making calls to colleagues to apologize for sending raunchy texts and photos to several women.
He also apologized to former President Bill Clinton, who officiated at Weiner’s wedding last July, said a person with knowledge of the call. The person, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the call publicly, spoke only on condition of anonymity. Weiner married Huma Abedin, a close adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at a lavish ceremony on Long Island last summer.
He reached out to fellow Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns of New York, according to Towns’ spokesman, Julian Phillips, who declined to discuss what the two lawmakers talked about.
So far, none of Weiner’s House colleagues have come to his defense as pressure on him to resign has increased.
Tim Kaine, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who is running for the Senate in Virginia, became the first major Democrat to call for Weiner to step aside.
“Lying is unforgivable,” he told WCAV-TV in Charlottesville, Va., on Tuesday. “Lying publicly about something like this is unforgivable, and he should resign.”
Weiner joined the growing list of New York politicians caught in headline-grabbing sex scandals. The disclosure by the married congressman that he sent raunchy texts and photos to several women online placed him in a rogue’s gallery of Empire State elected officials better known for sexual shenanigans than legislative accomplishments.
Weiner’s confession this week came just four months after an upstate New York lawmaker, Republican Rep. Chris Lee, stepped down after shirtless photos he sent to a woman he met on Craigslist were published online. A Democrat, Kathy Hochul, won a special election to replace Lee, and Democrats hailed the victory as a turning point for the party following its drubbing in the 2010 midterm elections.
But since the photo of a man’s bulging underpants was sent on Weiner’s Twitter account nearly two weeks ago, the “Weinergate” controversy has dominated the news and distracted attention from Democrats’ efforts to slam Republicans for proposing deep cuts to Medicare. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi formally requested an ethics probe to determine whether Weiner broke House rules, while other Democrats have stayed largely silent on his plight.
“Anthony Weiner was never known as a mature guy, and his abrasiveness has not made him any friends among his congressional colleagues,” Democratic consultant George Arzt said. “I don’t think he ever grew up. His behavior has always been a little out of sync from his duties.”
Even if Weiner’s political career does survive the controversy in the short term, his dream of running for New York mayor has likely been dashed for good. A new Marist poll showed 56 percent don’t want him to be mayor, even though half don’t believe he should resign his seat in Congress.