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. MtnJim

    It's a Repub "prank" just ask any "CREP Plumber"!! (If you are too young to remember, do a Google search on "Watergate".)

    June 3, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  2. TomD

    Ok Folks, this guy won't deny its him, says his account was hacked but won't call in law enforcement, and is hurting his party. The Repubs pushed out the Rep from NY state for doing less. What is stopping the Dems from pushing him to resign? Come on, he is not going to dance around this much longer.

    June 3, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. Peters

    The question should be Why pick on Weiner? a champion born winner. Just pray and forgive them Weiner

    June 3, 2011 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Looking at this guys face turns me off and I don't need to see what the rest of him looks like, turn out the lights and be done with this.

    June 3, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. Richard-Missour

    Weiner has a serious issue, and like an STD, it's not just going to go away on it's own. This story is way too fun and juicy for the media, and they are clamped onto this story like a pit bull on a poodle. The latest is that Weiner actually intended the phot to go to another Ginger – Ginger Lynn, the porn star – but he inadvertently sent it to the college student, Ginger instead. Oops! Listen, the whole thing is way to suspicious: Weiner says he was hacked, but does not appear to be actively trying to find out who hacked him, and he also refuses to say whether or not the phot was actually of him. Now, let's assume is was a photo of Weiner's weiner: what was such a photo doing on his Twitter account, where a purported hacker could find it, and send it to anyone he / she wishes? If a hacker was going to do such a thing, why send it to only one lone college student? Why not Twitter the photo to CNN, Fox, or some other group / organization to ensure maximum embarassment for Weiner? No, something is fishy here, and Weiner is going to get barbequed.

    June 3, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  6. Alina77

    Weiner is the only Dem in the Congress that tells Republicans ( to suck it on a daily bases ). Well, now he has a picture to show them on what exactly...

    June 3, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. LiLa

    I agree with Rep. Wadded an. This is a personal matter and it need not concern anyone other than his family.

    June 3, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  8. Jason

    I can't believe this guy is getting a pass. He is married and sending lewd pictures of himself to a 21 year-old college student who he follows on Twitter. It also came out today that he followed a stripper from TN on Twitter. He is clearly lying about being hacked and if you don't know that you are a moron. This guy needs to go away (I mean like I don't ever need to see or hear from him again).

    June 3, 2011 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  9. Dino

    Either you got hacked and it's you or it isn't. Make up your mind which is it? Did somebody hack your computer and steal a picture of your erection underneath YOUR underwear and post it on Twitter? If that's the case then just say so and stop beating around the bush. Or why not do like Clinton did and deny everything.

    June 3, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  10. MAC

    Well, we do see the double standard. If this was a republican he would have resigned for his lack of moral family values, but he is a democrat who have no moral family values. Thier idols are the Kennedys.

    June 3, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. CBR

    Rep. Weiner should just go about his business and let others find out what happened. Moist of us really do not care about pictures on the internet. we should be intelligent enough to delete email like that and/or put it in the trash.

    Seems to me that Breitbart is out to get Weiner. These people need to get a life outside of politics. Report about the real work that Congress has ignored. They do nothing and then blame the Pres. What a racket!!!

    If you compare this to an absolute on behavior, it would probably not be comparable to what the Republicans and democrats who have resigned had done. Just drop it and let's all go on.

    June 3, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. Como

    Who cares? After hearing Clinton as "What is the meaning of is?" during his trial? This incident tells the voter volumes about the lack of integrity of Weiner. He will not or cannot end it by saying "it is not me and I have turned it over to the FBI."

    June 3, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  13. Don

    Weiner’s flaccid response has turned what looked like a pinprick into an ever-rising concern for the young Member. Most observers felt it would quickly drop off, but it now seems surprisingly hard and prominent. The problem is getting bigger by the day and Weiner seems unable to get his hands around it. Even his most ardent supporters are beginning to ask “Could this really be our Weiner?”

    June 3, 2011 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  14. tcaros

    Rep. Weiner is a true American patriot. He is looking out for the average American.

    He's being attacked for standoing up to the Republican butt kissers of industry.

    June 3, 2011 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. Give me a break

    Come on, obviously Weiner sent the tweet. He's a pervert. Let's move on.

    June 3, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  16. Plato101

    If I were a congressman and my computer got hacked, I would immediately inform the FBI. I think that would be the normal response. Mr Weiner seems quite reluctant to involve law enforcement in this. Rather strange behavior if he was truly hacked.

    June 3, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  17. New Age Independent

    The actions of Weiner are those of a guilty man. Weiner has evaded answering direct questions and now concedes that the photo "might" be him? He's already made accusations of a vast conspiracy of hacking which will put him in deeper trouble with his false statements to the FBI. He screwed up and he knows it. Democrats screamed for Chris Lee to resign, which he ultimately did for a shirtless photo. Where is Pelosi in all this? The silence from Democrats is deafening and embarrassing. Weiner should resign and then be prosecuted for his false statements.

    June 3, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  18. Bill Clay

    It's not just the fact that he's sending pictures of his underwear to women on the Internet, it's the fact that he got caught doing it and lied about it. That's why he will NEVER ask for an official law enforcement investigation of this imaginary "hacking", he could be criminally prosecuted for filing a false police report. It's okay to lie to the voters, but you can go to jail for lying to the police.

    June 3, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  19. EddyL

    total foolishness.....

    June 3, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  20. Pie

    Im becoming fairly certain that the only reason the media continues to propagate this story is so they can put headlines out like " Democratic leadership privately push Weiner" and such.

    June 3, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  21. aaron

    the dem leadership has been privately pushing weiner for years

    June 3, 2011 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  22. 2manykats

    What would anybody have this man do or say? He has said it is a prank, his twitter account was hacked, and he doesn't really know any more about it than anybody else other than the hacker. Get over it and go on to more important issues. This is one of the year's biggest non-stories and I think the Dems ought to be ashamed of themselves for carping on it. I expect harassment from Repubs – after all, it is a political opportunity. But to have to defend yourself against your own colleagues when you have done nothing wrong is disappointing.

    June 3, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  23. Mark

    Weiner for Prez! Must be painful for all these Republicons out there who don't own one.

    June 3, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  24. shamgar50

    If he didn’t send the picture, then whether it’s a photo of him is irrelevant, and none of anyones’s business.
    If he says it’s his picture, then they’ll try to make something out of him having a picture of himself in his underwear. If he’s done nothing wrong, he should tell them where to go, and get on with his job.

    June 3, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  25. Larry King

    Thats clearly Weiner's weener in the photograph. You have to feel terrible for Huma Abedin, the poor woman who married Mr. Weener just eleven months ago, only to find that he sends young women photos of the bulge in his underpants, and then makes an idiot of himself by failing to deny it!

    Hey, at least she has a guy with a bulge in his underpants. It would have been even worse if it had been just a "bump."

    June 3, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
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