In response, party leaders mounted an effort against Weiner with an intensity that surprised many on Capitol Hill. They issued coordinated statements, made coordinated TV appearances, and set up a meeting Thursday to strip Weiner of his coveted committee assignments.
Finally, the pressure campaign worked.
On Thursday, Weiner announced his resignation in his district in Brooklyn. As a heckler shouted insults from the back, Weiner said he was leaving because of “the distraction that I have created.”
“I am here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused,” Weiner said, reading from a statement at the senior center where he had announced previous campaigns for the City Council and Congress.
His departure leaves an empty seat in Washington and a debate in New York about whether the district should be eliminated altogether as part of the redistricting process. For his party, his departure allows Democrats to return to their campaign against Republican plans to overhaul Medicare.
And it signals the limits of the fire-breathing model Weiner used to stand out in a crowded political world. After a career playing to an audience beyond the halls of Congress, it seemed that his departure would have little impact on the body he left.
Weiner’s resignation came at the end of three weeks of revelations about the inappropriate exchanges he carried on with several women, several of whom came forward with details of their conversations. As Chris Cilizza explained:
The scandal surrounding lewd photos that Rep. Anthony Weiner took — and shared — of his private parts (among other things) ended as it had begun 19 days before: with a cringe.
The New York Democrat appeared at a senior center in Brooklyn on Thursday to tell his constituents — and the world — what everyone already knew: He was resigning from office.
Weiner made a valiant effort to take the high road. “There is no higher honor in a democracy than being sent by your neighbors to represent them,” he began, but the gawkers and gadflies were determined to turn his final moments as a congressman into a circus.
As Weiner tried to sum up a career in the U.S. House that spanned more than a decade — “I got into politics to help give voice to the many who simply did not have one” — he was shouted down by catcalls that can’t be printed in a family newspaper but that could be heard loud and painfully clear on the live cable television coverage. By the speech’s conclusion, relief and revulsion — for the story, the moment, for all of it — seemed to mingle together.
Three weeks ago, Weiner was the boy who would be king: a youthful, liberal, outspoken media darling who was at the top of everyone’s list to be the next mayor of New York.
Today, he stands broken — personally and politically — by his tweets, his Facebook messages, his camera phone and not least, as he put it, by “the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused.”
Many have speculated on he future of the relationship between Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, a longtime staffer to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As Sally Quinn reported:
Anthony Weiner has resigned his seat in Congress. Now comes the hard part: He has to deal with his marriage.
His wife, Huma Abedin, special assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is pregnant. They hadn’t even been married a year when the scandal broke. He was caught sending lewd and suggestive photographs and messages to multiple women via Twitter. He was doing it before and during their marriage.
Should she forgive him? Should she stay with him?
Huma Abedin is beautiful, gracious, dignified and intelligent. She is beloved by colleagues and friends.
Weiner, a Democrat, has few friends and was not popular with his colleagues. This was obvious when Nancy Pelosi and others called for his resignation and when President Obama weighed in, saying he would resign if he were Weiner.
Two people Weiner could count as friends were Bill and Hillary Clinton. The former president officiated at Weiner’s wedding to Huma. Reportedly her parents, Muslims, were not thrilled with the relationship between their daughter and Weiner, who is Jewish. The Clintons were said to have vouched for him. When the story broke, Abedin, who has been with the Clintons since the White House days, was traveling with the secretary of state and did not return home until this past week. It was the day after her return that he resigned. Those close to both say there had been many phone calls between Weiner, his wife and the Clintons.
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