House Democratic leadership privately push Weiner
June 3rd, 2011
05:25 PM ET
11 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. Republican Robber Baron

    Wow who cares. People get hacked and pranked all the time. Consider the source. CNN please do some real investigative journalism and find-out if Brietbart or Partisan activists committed a crime. Rather that pester him to death.

    June 3, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. NVa Native

    Weiner is great. When all the Dems suck up to the Repubs because they "don't want to make waves" which means stand up for what's right – Weiner does. He's a strong advocate for the working and middle class families, and small business. He should let this silly underwear stuff fall by the wayside and ignore it.
    Hey if Vittner, Gingerich, Ensign, Hyde can cheat on their wives while claiming to be of the "Family Values" herd then an underwear shot should mean sainthood, even if it's not his underwear.

    June 3, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. T'sah from Virginia


    June 3, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. G. Himmelfarb

    Democrats shouldn't push Weiner. Weiner is doing a great job out there. I admit, at first I thought he floundered, but the "guy in the back with a pie" line really cinched it up for me: innocent, innocent, innocent.

    June 3, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "House Democratic leadership privately push Weiner"

    Why not just make it "pull" so we can all have a laugh?

    June 3, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. spoutinghorn

    People get "hacked and pranked" all the time. Who exactly are these "people" other than clumsy bunglers trying to cover up their sextin?

    June 3, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. leona

    "Hey if Vittner, Gingerich, Ensign, Hyde can cheat on their wives while claiming to be of the "Family Values" herd then an underwear shot should mean sainthood, even if it's not his underwear."

    Would his wife think this is "sainthood" ?? Add to that the fact that he's a LIAR because he knows he took that picture. He deserves everything he gets now.

    June 3, 2011 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Steve John Orkyle

    Karma...pure and simple!! This guy had this coming for a very long time. In the end he'll admit it and he knows it and that's what is killing him inside. Gotta love technology!!

    June 3, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. once upon a horse

    the Republicans are trying to make this a distraction because for one...they DON'T LIKE Weiner because he is one of the few Democrats that won't back down to them, and two they need for folks to get their mind of the Medicare fiasco and Ryan's budget plan. Sorry to say but some Americans do seem have short memories and can be distracted very easily.

    June 3, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Joan

    This article is exactly correct. It was a good week for the Democrats overall and yet the good news was overshadowed by this. That is precisely what the jerks who sent it on were aiming for. It probably was a private photo that someone got hold of and sent on. Since Brietbart was the whislte blower you can be sure he and his friends masterminded it. Hopefully Weiner's investigators can find out who sent it and his lawyers will file civil suits against them. Then maybe the politicians and media will get back to serious issues.

    June 3, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Joe

    What exactly do they want him to say? He said he didn't send the tweet (as if anyone really believed he was that dumb anyway) and he said he doesn't think it's a picture of him but he can't be sure. Of course he can't really be sure. Unless he's being dodgy to try and cover it up, he's correct that technically he can't prove it's not him. It could be a doctored picture, it could be a picture taken by a stalker, who knows? I know it's frustrating when he says he can't be sure about it but that's really the most honest answer. People who believe he is being dodgy because he's hiding something aren't going to believe him anyway if he said it wasn't him. He is trying to avoid setting himself up as a liar if someone is holding back proof that it actually is a picture of him.

    June 3, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. FastBoat

    On to the next hack. It was never a big deal anyway. But speaking of big deals. If that is him maybe he should change his name to Anthony Tripod.

    June 3, 2011 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  13. zin

    so dems thnk breitbart did this? hahaha, so weiner does not want the fbi involved or the matter resolved by law enforcement because he wants to protect breitbart. got it

    June 3, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. cornelia

    There is so much hypocrisy in this country… I can see half of the country (you know which half, the one infatuated with "family values") in their pizza-stained t-shirts and 7-day-old sweats, taking a break from their favorite porn shorts only to venom-ize Weiner... Better listen to what Weiner is telling us about the multi-biases of judge Thomas. Really!

    June 3, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. Kenny

    I like Weiner and think he is a good Congressman and hope he continues to do good work in Congress, however, even as one of his supporters, I have to say that he must do as he is so quick to call on others to do and that is to come clean. He needs to get the facts out there, take the heat, then stop talking about it and move on.

    June 3, 2011 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. Lynne

    I have a lot of respect for Rep. Weiner...has no one hear of cropping a photo????? that may actually be a photo from his wayward youth that has been cropped to only show his boy parts...let's make it look naughty!!! Who was the first one to bring the story to light...correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it some uber conservative blogger known for sketchy behavior when it comes to democrats and liberals in general??? And we are suppose to trust that he is telling the truth over a well respected public official? REALLY?????????? Give me a break!

    If that is not a Photoshopped photo of Rep Weiner, then I say his wife is one lucky woman!

    June 3, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  17. AZ DEM

    The only person who responded appropriately was Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The Democrats need to learn to stop throwing one another under the bus...had this been the GOP they would have told ALL the media to refer their questions to the Representative in question and THAT would be the END OF THAT. Dems need to get their stuff together this is a matter for Rep. Weiner to deal with no one else.

    June 3, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  18. notogop

    I will never understand how these people in prominent positions can continue to think they can do stupid stuff and get by with it. I realize men have major problems with their libidos, but it seems they should understand they have a bullseye on their backs that everyone one is trying to hit with all kinds of ammo. I can only think that a whole lots of stuff is done by these bozos that never gets found out for them to continue to act so childishly. I guess the only good part of this is he is a democrat and they don't have a plank in their political platform for god, family values, and morality.

    June 3, 2011 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. Tom

    If someone hacked his account let get the FBI in and find the person. But I don't think he wants an investigation we may find out who really sent the picture.

    June 3, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  20. Doug O

    Just a sniviling lying pencil necked pervert trying to "send thrills" up Chis Matthews leg. I did not see the picture but I heard it described as "big nosed, baggy eyed and unkempt hair" and that sounds like what Mr. Weiner sees everytime he looks in the mirror. And you azzwiper liberals can now get an iron-on picture for your pillow cases.

    June 3, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  21. zanny

    Who cares?? Did his parents pay $94,000 to his mistress and her husband? Did he tell his wife he wanted a divorce while she was hospitalized with cancer and then blame his cheating on his passion for government and then ave the nerve to think he can run for President??? Sarah Palin is ona rented bus covered with pictures and taking a family vacation up the east coast on fundraiser money and no one sees a problem with that??? The Republicans are selling the country down the river again They so desperatly want to win the Presidency in 2012 that they will let the country go over the brink rather than do something to help. QWhere are all the jobe the millionaires were going to create by having no tax increas which added billions to our national debt???? Who acres about Twitter or Facebook or any of them. Idiots breach them all the time because they have no life so enjoy disrupting others. They are antisocial parasites who prey on individuals in hopes of giving some meaning to their meaningless lives. Go on with the news that really matter and get off Anthony Weiner.

    June 3, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  22. Chipster

    Seriously? Did any of them offer any practical advice on how exactly to address such a ridiculous issue? I don't know or care whether the photo is Weiners. I know the man has balls! It's about time more Democrats found theirs! Of all the critical issues that need their full attention – this is NOT one of them! We all need to tell reporters to get their priorities in order.

    June 3, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  23. vikingslost

    Maybe we should ask Sarah Palin for guidance on this issue.

    June 3, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  24. mj

    I just feel sorry for his wife. What an idiot to think he could get away with it. Doesn't know if it is his underwear .... Who would not know what their underwear looked like? The more he talks, the worse it gets. Hope she gets a great Attorney. Would definitely get rid of his name (if she used it).

    June 3, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. Get A Grip

    "I here Tony is going to have his Weiner "handled" in "Small" claims court"

    .Darn, I wish I could take credit for this one because it's a darn good one!!!!

    June 3, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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