House Democratic leadership privately push Weiner
June 3rd, 2011
05:25 PM ET
12 years ago

House Democratic leadership privately push Weiner

Washington (CNN) - Members of the House Democratic leadership have talked repeatedly to Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-New York, to try to get him to end what several Democrats call an unwelcome political distraction, a member of the party's leadership tells CNN.

"It's frustrating because we'll talk to him, and say clean it up, and then he goes out and does stuff," said the member of the House Democratic leadership, who declined to speak for the record about private discussions with Weiner.

"He's got to put the period at the end of the sentence," said the Democratic source, "it's painful."

On Thursday, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House, was less blunt, but told CNN he had spoken to Weiner.

"I told him that he needs to handle this and he needed to give the facts accurately to the public," Hoyer said.

Weiner initially released two written statements saying he was the victim of a hacker and a prank, when a photograph of a man in bulging underwear was sent on his Twitter account.

He then refused to answer questions in a testy press conference about whether the photo was him, and why he hadn't asked law enforcement to investigate. The following day, in a series of interviews, he said he couldn't say with "certitude" if the photograph was of him.

"We'd like him to speak clearly to clear it up or quit talking about it if it's not going to solve anything," said the House Democratic leadership member who said he and others spoke to Weiner.

Now, Weiner appears to be taking the "quit talking" approach.

He abruptly cancelled a scheduled appearance Friday night at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention.

Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, tells CNN that they got a call Friday morning and were told that "given the circumstances he is going to stick around New York and hang out with his wife." Zielinski said he did not know whether the call came from Weiner himself or an aide.

Weiner also declined multiple times Friday to answer questions from CNN about the investigation he says he's hired an attorney to conduct to get to the bottom of questions surrounding the lewd photograph. All Weiner would say is that he hired the law firm of Baker Hostetler. Calls and emails to the firm were not returned.

"I don't have anything more. I spoke to a lot of press over the last few days. I have nothing else for you," said Weiner Friday.

But that's not satisfying other fellow Democrats.

"I like Anthony Weiner, I think he's a great public servant but only Anthony Weiner can clean this up. It's becoming a distraction there's no two ways about it," Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-New Jersey told CNN.

"These things don't go away, they hang on like a disease," said Pascrell.

In conversations with several of House Democrats, what frustrates them the most is that they believe he stepped on good political news for them this week, like the swearing in of Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-New York, who won a special election in a traditionally Republican district, and another House vote on a GOP plan to overhaul Medicare, which Democrats hail as a winning issue for them.

To be sure – some of Weiner's Democratic colleagues were not as critical.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, calls this "a personal matter."

"It's his twitter account. It's his deal. It's personal. It's not something that's appropriate for another member to comment on. It's something he is dealing with personally and that's where I think it should be left," Wasserman Schultz told CNN.

Filed under: Anthony Weiner • House Democrats
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Gerry Evans

    OH quit your whining CNN. Just because Mr Wiener didn't want to make a supreme court case out of the fact some one hacked his twitter account Ms Bash and the Jackass that was with her got their sissy panties in a wad and now CNN is trying to make a big stink about it. WHY don't you CNN people go out and find some real bad guys to talk about. It doesn't matter if the picture is of his stuffed shorts or not. Since there isn't a face connected to the picture it's just your guess and I think your just trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.. Grow up..... I've seen more porn on a fruit of the loom commercial then this pair of shorts shows... Leave him alone.

    June 3, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  2. RichardTexas13

    Really? Does anyone believe this? A dude sending a picture of his underwear. Who cares? Someone that lies about it like all the other political people that plow through our money...get out of town. When will honest people that have some integrity be in the position of making decisions. Integrity. Summary...Underwear, who cares? Lies? Get out now.

    June 3, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  3. Root and stem

    If this were a Republican the story would not have been sympathetic toward him.

    June 3, 2011 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  4. hih

    wo really ..this should be the people in his district to deal with...what a joke..Washington wake up I despise their lack of focus on real issues.

    June 3, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  5. Karen

    Get over it!

    June 3, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  6. A Concerned Mom

    If someone hacked into an account of a sitting Congressman, It should have been reported to the authorities and throughly investigated. This is a serious breech and could have national security issues attached. Of course, if he sent the photo, that could explain why he refused to have this matter investigated.

    June 3, 2011 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  7. iceaxdave

    Everybody don't push a pull it! HaHaHaHaHa!

    June 3, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
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