‘Bye bye pervert’ salutes Weiner’s resignation

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner announces his resignation from Congress, in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Thursday, June 16, 2011. Weiner resigned from Congress, saying he cannot continue in office amid the intense controversy surrounding sexually explicit messages he sent online to several women. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Nearly three weeks after Rep. Anthony Weiner accidentally tweeted a photo of his bulging crotch, his final act as congressman was to attempt to resign with dignity.

Instead, heckling and catcalls disrupted his news conference, creating a noisy, circus-like atmosphere that overshadowed the main event. It was an ungracious end, a fitting metaphor for the troubled congressman’s career.

Weiner had gone from the halls of Congress to the front pages of the New York tabloids, providing ceaseless fodder as cringe-worthy evidence of his sexually charged online dalliances leaked out and top Democrats pushed for his resignation.

On Thursday afternoon, the 46-year-old struck a sober tone at the podium of the senior center in Brooklyn where he launched a campaign for City Council in 1992. He stood alone; his pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, remained at home while he officially ended the only career he has ever known.

But like other developments in the tawdry drama, the press conference was marked by profanity and low-brow antics. After recounting the beginning of his political career and proclaiming that there is “no higher honor” than to represent one’s neighbors, he said he initially hoped to continue his work but then realized “the distraction that I have created has made that impossible.” With that, he apologized and resigned.

The seniors, many of them former supporters, groaned. Some in the room cheered. One man yelled: “Buh-bye, pervert!”

Another jumped up seconds later and began to shout questions about the congressman’s genitals. The din in the room reached a crescendo as dozens of cameras pivoted, reporters gasped and some of the seniors shouted for the man to sit down.

Weiner grew slightly flushed but continued speaking. A police officer approached and told him to quiet down for the remainder of Weiner’s remarks, which lasted just under four minutes. As the congressman left the podium, the heckler bellowed: “Will you maintain your hot physique and your smooth sexy chest?”

The man behind it turned out to be a writer for the Howard Stern Show named Benjy Bronk.

Many of the spectators said the episode was a startling finale for the once-promising hometown politician whose district includes parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

“It was pathetic and sad,” said online publisher Binyamin Jolkovsky, 42. “A guy built a career, made it three-fourths of the way up the hill and then it all collapses.”

Known as brash, liberal and ambitious, the seven-term congressman had run for mayor of New York in 2005 and had been expected to do so again. He had raised $4 million in campaign funds so far.

On Thursday, he hinted that he would somehow stay involved in public life.

“I got into politics to help give voice to the many that simply did not have one,” he said. “Now I’ll be looking for other ways to contribute my talents to make sure that we live up to that most New York and American of ideals: the idea that leading a family, a community and ultimately a country is the one thing that all unites us, the one thing we’re all focused on.”

He did not take questions.

Democratic Party leaders, concerned that Weiner could weigh the party down in the 2012 elections, had welcomed the announcement after days spent trying to coax, push and finally coerce the wayward politician into quitting.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has the authority to call a special election to fill the seat once the congressman submits his resignation. However, because of population shifts, New York state is to lose two House seats in 2013, and lawmakers may target Weiner’s former district. His replacement could get a job that ends in just 19 months.

“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 Weiner spoke. “Today, he made the right judgment in resigning.”

He did not explain his presence in New York, several days after issuing a statement that said he was seeking treatment. Other Democrats said he had left the city to do so.

Weiner’s departure marks the end of a bizarre period born of his use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

His problems began May 28, when a website run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart posted a lewd photograph 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, a former pornography actress who exchanged emails and messages over Twitter with him said Wednesday at a news conference he had asked her to lie about their interactions.

Ginger Lee said she and Weiner exchanged about 100 emails between March and June after Lee posted a supportive statement about the congressman on her blog. He then contacted her on Twitter, Lee said. They mostly discussed politics, but he would often turn the conversation to sex, she said.

Weiner’s initial reaction after the first photo became public more than two weeks ago was to lie, and he did so repeatedly, saying his Twitter account had been hacked.

But he did not report his claim to law enforcement — a step that could have opened him to charges of far more serious wrongdoing.

Nor were his public denials persuasive, especially when he told one interviewer he could not “say with certitude” that he wasn’t the faceless man in the underwear photo.

His eventual confession triggered a tabloid-style frenzy in print and online that only grew more pronounced a few days later when an X-rated photo surfaced on a website.

After initially calling for a House ethics investigation, Pelosi ramped up the pressure on Saturday when she joined with Rep. Steve Israel of New York and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, leader of the Democratic National Committee, in calling on Weiner to step down.

President Barack Obama added to the pressure two days later, saying if he were in Weiner’s situation, he would resign.

On Wednesday, Democrats let it be known the party’s House leadership would be meeting within 24 hours to consider sanctions against Weiner.

Weiner was said to have telephoned Pelosi and Israel, the head of the party campaign committee, as they attended a White House picnic Wednesday evening to tell them of his plans to quit.

Several officials have said in recent days that Weiner was reluctant to make any decision about his career without speaking with his wife, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had been overseas since shortly after the scandal broke. The trip ended Tuesday night.

Weiner’s outspoken, in-your-face style cheered liberal supporters and angered conservatives. He even irritated some party leaders in 2009 when he led the charge for a government-run health care system long after the White House had made it clear that Obama was opposed.

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Andrew Miga reported from Washington; Associated Press writers Beth Fouhy and Ula Ilnytzky and David B. Caruso contributed from New York.

Karen Zraick can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/karenzraick.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

9 Responses to "‘Bye bye pervert’ salutes Weiner’s resignation"

  1. Sandune  June 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Sorry chief, I cannot share your words on this situation. My emotions are for what his wife and mother are suffering. Enjoy the weekend,

  2. Jeffrey King  June 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Only a woman could muster empathy for the women in a dirt bag’s life. They didn’t do anything to be ashamed of.

    Or maybe they did. Was he a planned for child?

    Did Huma think he was a fine hunk o meat or are they just another couple of political convenience? Maybe if she was more convenient in a physical sense he would have less interest and time for fantasy encounters. I’m pretty sure Bill hasn’t been near Hillary’s dry hole for years.

    Funny how things roll around. Of all the men and occupations in the world, Chelsea Clinton chooses a investment banker.

    Career politicians shouldn’t exist in the first place. Good riddance. Follow the money and he’ll have a nice job with someone he already helped, with or without popular support.

    • Sandune  June 18, 2011 at 9:41 am

      Jeffery, it is a matter of handling disasters with a touch of dignity. In today’s society we no longer respect anyone. I’m certain Rush would have written your comment as women are always the reason men ruin their lives.

      I live in a world not associated with Rush Limbaugh. I am also a trained Hospice worker where I help soothe even the anguish of death.

      • Jeffrey King  June 18, 2011 at 10:22 am

        You brought the wife and mother into this. How are they suffering? His lack of shame and prolonging the inevitable only extended the embarrassment of his “close friends” and family?

        I know who Rush is. I have listened to his show years ago, not as a fan. I have this awful habit of listening to people before forming an opinion.

        I have no idea how hospice fits into this conversation. I do respect and commend you for your participation in that end of life process.

        • Sandune  June 18, 2011 at 1:42 pm

          It might just be that I am a woman. I have been a wife, a mother and a grandmother. That makes me sympathize with what men often do to their families.

          I was one of the first Hospice workers to take on the gay community when others refused to help them in their disease. Silly old me believes that all humans are equal. I detest what Weiner did to his mother and wife. He did this to himself but how can he explain what he did to his wife and mother? I realize that most Americans are like you; so what if innocent and loving people are treated as if they don’t exist?

          Hospice is simply an example of treating all others with dignity and love.

          His wife married a Jew who has been a declared enemy of her Muslim religion. She has to have loved him to do this very brave action. She loved him enough to have gotten pregnant. Does this not have any meaning to you? How old are you Jeffrey? Do you have a wife or any children?

          The saddest part of this situation is what the Conservatives will do to this family…….They (you) will never give up with your insults over this absurd action. From the day that child enters school there will be those pictures on the internet. I’m trying to think back of any action by some poor slob of a male did something incredibly stupid that the GOP didn’t make a bigger load of crap over it that it deserved. The fact that Clinton was married to Hillary and was able to handle the horrors of her husband’s actions with the cigar in the oval office. I was here at that time and Reader Rants went insane with that story. Hillary is smarter than “slick” Clinton and was able to cut off the crap from the beginning.

          I would never return home to any man who showed a lack of respect for me or his mother. Maybe when you grow up you will understand how women think and act. Huma will never relax when her husband enters her home. It is possible that Weiner himself never had an ounce of respect for the women in his life. When he finally grows up he may fully understand what he did.

          He did not have sex with anyone. He was stupid enough to put his non-sex on the internet. I’m upset that you have no understanding of what this brought about. You see, all you have to do is pray and confess and you will Skip out of hell and damnation. Life is a party to be enjoyed regardless of the consequences of your ignorance. That, my friend is exactly what makes up the character of a Conservative American man.

          I seldom disagree with Doug Thompson but he understands my words when I do.. American values are heading for the septic tank and there is apparently little anyone can do about it. As a grandmother of two grown adults, I can at least make people aware of when their attitudes are jaded. You are nothing but words on my monitor. But somebody missed something in your growing up time.

          • Jeffrey King  June 19, 2011 at 9:36 am

            Wow, for a mature person you seem eager to classify me based on age, marital status and fertility.

            I’m more than a decade older than Weiner and don’t claim to be superior or flawless in my life.

            You seem conflicted. You care for individuals to give them some dignity. That’s great. If that helps others within the circle of friends and family, that’s a bonus.

            I lost track of why you want to attack me and my opinion about what amounts to a tabloid story. It’s true, I don’t care about his wife or mother, or anyone else that knows him. Isn’t that personal and private?

            My position and comments are related to his employment. People have flaws and screw up. He has problems, he screwed up. Do I care about his sex life, his married life, his unborn child? NO.

            I simply hope there is someone in line that is more interested in the job they are elected to.

  3. rick  June 18, 2011 at 8:36 am

    He’ll now get a job as a commentator on CNN.

  4. Sandune  June 19, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Jeffrey, I look at all Americans as individuals. That is what separates me from this forum.

  5. Sandune  June 19, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    ‘Or maybe they did. Was he a planned for child?’ This is your quote from your first reply. This is a reply from a very immature brat of an ignorant kid. I got my kids and grand kids out of that attitude but I have no control over people like you. You even question the unborn baby.

    I realize I’m out numbered here and on many gatherings of politicos. I sometimes want to stand on the roof of my house and scream “Grow the hell up!” to all who pass.

    I read the posts of so many here at CHB and am glad I knocked this crap out of the minds of my kids. Every human deserves respect and dignity. Understand that I am an atheist not a Christian where I can beg for forgiveness when I’m wrong. I look at people in a different way than others. I have been known to cry my eyes out when I listen to the Conservative Christians run American values under a bus. Who do they, you, think you are?

    I realize that most Americans are treated like cattle in school and even in their homes. Labels are issued from birth and by the time some American kid reaches maturity he sounds like Rush Limbaugh. You forget that all Americans have, as a birth right, freedoms and liberties and no unwashed fool can argue with that.

    I logged off RR and will be glad to be done with CHB.

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