July 23rd, 2013
06:45 PM ET
1 year ago

Weiner, with wife at side, says lewd exchanges happened after resignation

Updated at 10:13 p.m. ET on 7/23

(CNN) - With his wife by his side, New York mayoral candidate and former congressman Anthony Weiner said Tuesday that some of the sexually explicit online exchanges that were published by a gossip website happened after his resignation from the U.S. House in 2011.

"Some of these things happened before my resignation, some happened after," Weiner said at a hastily organized press conference in New York, where he also pushed back when asked if the latest revelation would prompt him to drop out of the race.

His remarks came hours after screenshots of sexually charged conversations and photographs appeared on a gossip website which alleged the communications were between Weiner and a young woman last summer.

Weiner resigned his House seat in New York after admitting to sending lewd photographs and images to multiple women.

In an extraordinary move, Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, appeared beside her husband Tuesday and made brief remarks backing him.

"What I want to say is I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and as I have said from the beginning, we are moving forward," said Abedin, a top adviser to Hillary Clinton, adding that Weiner had made some "horrible mistakes, both before he resigned from Congress, and after."

PHOTOS: Weiner addresses lewd exhanges

Weiner resisted calls from some of his rivals for the Democratic mayoral nomination to give up his bid, adding, "I'm sure many of my opponents would like me to drop out of the race."

The New York chapter of the National Organization for Woman called on Weiner to withdraw from the race following his press conference.

"As if we didn't already have enough evidence of Anthony Weiner's utter lack of judgment, impulse control and honesty, these latest revelations show the degree to which his candidacy distracts us from the important business of choosing the next leader of New York City," Sonia Ossorio, the president of the group, wrote in a statement.

The editorial board of the New York Times followed suit, writing "At some point, the full story of Anthony Weiner and his sexual relationships and texting habits will finally be told. In the meantime, the serially evasive Mr. Weiner should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye, away from cameras, off the Web and out of the race for mayor of New York City."

READ MORE: Who's in the lead in the New York City mayoral race?

Earlier in the day, Weiner released a statement admitting that some of the conversations and photos that appeared on the website TheDirty.com were his.

"While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong," Weiner said.

In the statement, Weiner pointed to previous comments he made around the time he announced his bid for New York City mayor, in which he said it was possible for more photos to come out as he made a re-entry into politics.

"I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have," he said Tuesday.

The exchanges that surfaced Tuesday were revealed about a year after they allegedly took place and in the middle of Weiner's Democratic primary campaign for New York mayor.

"This behavior is behind me. I've apologized to Huma and am grateful that she has worked through these issues with me and for her forgiveness," he said.

READ MORE: Has the road to political redemption gotten shorter?

In facing reporters, Weiner was supported by his wife, who in emotional comments discussed the couple's struggles to save their marriage.

"I made the decision that it was worth staying in this marriage," she said. "That was a decision I made for me, for our son, and for our family."

"This was the first time we heard his wife, Huma Abedin, speak at a press conference, but also speak about these issues," CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash said. "This wasn't just a scene of a wife standing by her political man. This was a wife coming up to the cameras, coming up to the microphones, and talking, which was frankly extraordinary. She is somebody who isn't just a wife. She is very politically savvy."

"Maybe most importantly, she learned at the knee of Hillary Clinton, somebody who most famously stood by her man politically. And so she's following in those footsteps,” Bash continued.

READ MORE: Huma Abedin, a Hillary Clinton adviser, emerges from privacy to spotlight

As Weiner's latest scandal unfolded, Harper's Bazaar published excerpts of an article Abedin wrote for the magazine.

"Three years ago I was a single workaholic, traveling the globe with an amazing job at the U.S. State Department. I could not have imagined how much my life would change in three short years," Abedin wrote for the magazine's September issue.

"Today I'm married, with a feisty 20-month-old son, a full-time job, and a husband running for mayor of New York."

Abedin said she has kept her personal life private for years, and no one is more surprised than she is to see herself on the campaign trail.

"So why am I doing this? Because Anthony has always been a smart, caring, and dedicated person, and while he's the same public servant who wants what's best for the people he represents, he is now something else-a better man," Abedin wrote.

Weiner’s public remarks came after chat messages purporting to be from Weiner were published on the website TheDirty.com. The post cited a "solid" source alleging Weiner engaged in lewd online conversations with her, and reproduced lengthy chats that were sexual in nature.

READ MORE: 'Women for Anthony' hope to boost Weiner mayoral bid

The woman, 22, says Weiner vowed to secure her a place on a panel hosted by Politico, as well as purchase a condominium for her in Chicago.

"I just want people to really know he's lying when he acts like he has changed," the unnamed woman told TheDirty.

In one instance, an explicit photo was published that the site claimed Weiner sent to the woman online. The name Weiner used online was "Carlos Danger," according to TheDirty.com

Weiner, who represented parts of Brooklyn and Queens, resigned from Congress after admitting to sending lewd photographs to multiple women online. At first he hedged on whether the photos were of him, including in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

"It certainly doesn't look familiar to me, but I don't want to say with certitude to you something that I don't know to be the certain truth," Weiner said at the time.

After more reports of online exchanges with other women surfaced, fellow Democrats encouraged Weiner to resign, which he ultimately did after confessing to the indiscretions.

In the run-up to his mayoral bid, which he launched in May, he said more photos could emerge.

"If reporters want to go and try to find more, I can't say they're not going to be able to find another picture, find another person who may want to come out on their own," he told RNN Television. "But I'm not going to contribute to that. The basics of the story are not going to change. It's behind me. It was a huge mistake."

Polls taken over the past several weeks have shown Weiner either leading his closest rival for the Democratic mayoral nomination, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, or trailing her in second place.

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Filed under: Anthony Weiner • New York
soundoff (1,191 Responses)
  1. John

    If New York votes this guy in. You will not be known as the big apple. You will now be known as the big Weiner..

    July 24, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  2. Joe Glider

    This is for the voters who think that what he does in private is his own business. He's running for public office, which means he'll be representing the public, representing New York City. He'll be a constant joke in the media. He's a repeat offender, which means a high probably of more to come. His "private" escapades will be a distraction from him doing the job he's elected for, which means a breach of his promise to the voters. Instead of dealing with real the problems, he'll be spending his time defending himself against the media barrage. That means the real job won't get done. Weiner's wife says that if she can forgive him then the voters should too. One thing has nothing to do with the other. Usually, people don't like to the victim of a scam. New York City will be the victim of his scam. The voters were warned.

    July 24, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  3. puma1979

    People who think what he does in private doesn't matter aren't thinking it through. Not only does it show a lack of judgement but this kind of behavior could make him vulnerable to bribery and further cover ups if he were to gain office.
    Everyone is praising his wife but she isn't the one running, if she were I bet we would all vote for her!!

    July 24, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  4. rwdragon86

    His wife should take him to the cleaners while he still has money. People should realize that if a person can't be trusted by his family there is no way the public should trust him. A person like him makes himself very open to blackmail and extorsion. If anyone elects him then they get what they deserve for being so naive.

    July 24, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. Adina

    Huma Abedin = can you say LOSERRRR....LOL....what a loser this girl is; i mean Anthony is a guy, guys will by guys and yes he is a fool, but his wife is one big LOSERRRR

    July 24, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Jean

    He'll be held with esteem by the democrats as they hold Clinton, who did far worse in my opinion. Mayor of San Diego being the most recent salacious, lew, weirdo democrat to come to light (and dirty old man to boot). Republicans have thier own weirdos too but how come CNN and the main stream media never headline the political affiliation of the perverts with headlines when they are democrats, only when they are republicans.

    July 24, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  7. Adina

    HUMA ABEDIN = LOSER of the decade...she looks like a fool, too, even without her husband making a fool out of her

    July 24, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. rabbitcommarogerindyreader

    Two words: Mark Sanford.

    July 24, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  9. blkdoggy421

    Why is the press continuing with this ? I thought it was established that he is a Hound Dog. The only difference between him and other politicians is that he is even more stupid and keeps getting caught.

    July 24, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  10. rabbitcommarogerindyreader

    Stupid behavior?: Weiner: Yes Mark Sanford: Yes.
    Online only?: Weiner: Yes, as far as we know. Mark Sanford: No.
    Took time AWOL from office to engage in stupid behavior?: Weiner: Not that we know of. Mark Sanford: Definitely yes.
    Actually broke up his marriage with stupid behavior: Weiner: No. Mark Sanford: Yes, and is now parading around with the woman he cheated with.
    Voted back into office?: Weiner: Not yet, and probably won't be. Mark Sanford: Yes.
    Supporters have double standards?: Weiner: Pending re-election, unknown presently. Mark Sanford: Undeniably yes.

    July 24, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  11. mjschriner

    you've got Weiner, we have Bob Filthner (San Diego)

    July 24, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  12. xx4zu1

    She had a written speech, probably prepared by one of weiners speech writers. It didn't seem as if she was speaking from the heart, she more than likely is using this opportunity to advance her own political agenda. Look what the scandal did for Hillary's political career. She may become the first female president all because she "stuck" by her scandalous husband.

    July 24, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  13. Harold

    If new york goes with this guy im gonna be disappointed. Really this is the best we could do mr. dic pic.

    July 24, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  14. STEELERS2013

    Weiners get out of hand sometimes.

    July 24, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. Ted

    I think it's funny that everyone in this thread acts like A. all politicians don't lie, and B. none of you ever do anything questionable to try and get off. The internet is dumb.

    July 24, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  16. naimed12

    Frankly, I don't understand in ANY way how ANY of this is ANYONE'S business..

    this is hi personal life. It is ridiculous. Typical American circus.

    July 24, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  17. Arun

    What he did was pathetic, but he doesn't preach family values like the repubes do!! Hey Anthony, all you have to say next time is that god has forgiven you and all will be forgotten. Isn't that they mantra of the right wing nut jobs who cheat on their spouses!!

    July 24, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  18. citizensane

    what a woman does with her Weiner is her business

    July 24, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. gt66

    This guy is such an IDIOT!! Anyone who votes for him is an IDIOT. And, Huma must be also if she continues to stand by him with a smile on her face. It is disgusting that this person was and continues to be within a leadership position. On one hand, it is easy to make the statement, "Who cares what he does in his own private life really who cares?". However, if a politician is not discrete about what he/she does in his own home (and is as reckless about it as he was), how can he/she expect to be taken seriously in politics? If he came out with a stellar plan on how to create jobs, even if it had merit, I could never take him seriously. All that would come to my mind is Weiner exposing his weiner on the internet and Huma standing by with a smile on her face! What a joke!

    July 24, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  20. tim traviolia

    the really strange thing about people, this dirt bag will get a good showing of votes, win or lose. what the problem is we are not holding people in public office accountable for their actions. further, we let their buddies judge them knowing they are all subject to the same scrutiny. slap on the wrist and back in the game. things are in very poor condition with the operation of government, get rid of the near dead and others who hide their criminal activity and create a new set of leaders. every few years we need to go in and strip away their false security and put freshmen in their place until they get a snout full of power and glory then get rid of them too.

    July 24, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  21. johndoughboy

    Sound likes this guy is just a texting addict with risque messages. He'll probably be doing this ever more so in the future. THE BIG APPLE does not this person in office as Mayor. He'd probably do the same thing if elected. This guy is at least bring the problem to the forefront–but still too large a risk for him in the office.

    July 24, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  22. A Kickin' Donkey

    As a Democrat, I pride myself on my principles and I think we, more than Republicans, will call outr others in our party. Dems ARE far less hypocritical.

    So here it is . . . AW has shown REPEATEDLY inability to control himself and is not fit for public service. He was embaraased once for his sexting [not a major offense in my book] got past it publicly by resigninging but hen repeated it while knowing we wanted to seek future public office. They say he's not STUPID . . . therefore I can only conclude he is addicted and you can't trust the judgement of an addict.
    His wife vouching for him is meaningless; she'd rather her husband & bAby's daddy be employed as the mayor [with a future shot @ higher office] than for him to be unemployable. Of course she's going to say everything is all better.

    July 24, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  23. Hogarth

    The larger question than whether this hapless individual will drop out of the race is – what kind of person would actually vote for him?

    July 24, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  24. Cwhat'sNew

    I only just feel so sorry for the woman. This Weiner does not even look straight to people. There's no chance even for me to hire him as my contractor. You've got to be kidding me that he is asking my vote??????? What a joke.

    July 24, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  25. NTO

    Dear CNN International:
    Weiner's weiner is not International news, barely USA news, only of interest to NY.

    July 24, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
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