Friday, June 17, 2011

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner resigns under pressure from Democrats

NEW YORK -- No longer defiant and combative, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., announced his resignation from Congress on Thursday, bowing to the furor caused by his sexually charged online dalliances with a former porn actress and other women.

Democratic Party leaders, concerned that Weiner could weigh the party down in the 2012 elections, welcomed the announcement after days spent trying to coax, push and finally coerce the 46-year-old into quitting. Known as brash, liberal and ambitious, Weiner had run for mayor of New York in 2005 and had been expected to do so again. He was in his seventh term in Congress.

At an appearance in Brooklyn that drew hecklers as well as supporters, he said, "I make this apology to my neighbors and my constituents, but I make it particularly to my wife, Huma."

Huma Abedin is pregnant with the couple's first child. She was absent as he announced his decision.

The Democrat said he had hoped to remain in Congress but conceded that his predicament had made that impossible. Instead, he said he would resign "so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can choose a new representative and, most importantly, that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused."

That conclusion echoed party leaders who had become worried that the intense public focus on Weiner would complicate their campaign efforts in 2012.

"Congressman Weiner exercised poor judgment in his actions and poor judgment in his reaction to the revelations," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement released moments after he spoke. "Today, he made the right judgment in resigning."

His problems began May 28 when a Web site run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart posted a lewd photo of an underwear-clad crotch and said it had been sent from Weiner's Twitter account to a Seattle woman.

As the scandalous chapter neared its conclusion, Ginger Lee, a former porn actress who exchanged e-mails and messages over Twitter with Weiner, said Wednesday at a news conference that he had asked her to lie about their interactions.



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