New Yorkers could be forgiven for hoping – in vain, it turns out – that they had seen the last of Anthony Weiner’s private parts.
In the latest bizarre turn in the city’s campaign season, a gossip website called “The Dirty” published an extensive set of lewd messages and photos apparently sent by Mr. Weiner, a former U.S. Congressman now running for mayor of New York, to a 22-year-old woman.
The exchange reportedly began last summer, a year after a sexting scandal had forced Mr. Weiner to resign from the House of Representatives and he claimed to be focused on repairing his marriage.
Stranger still: Mr. Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, greeted the latest revelations with a kind of calm resignation.
At a packed press conference, Mr. Weiner did not deny that he had sent the messages. “I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have,” said Mr. Weiner. “These things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress.”
“This behaviour is behind me,” he said.
Ms. Abedin, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stood next to Mr. Weiner as he spoke, looking composed and flashing an occasional smile. Then, for the first time since Mr. Weiner’s campaign began, she made her own public remarks.
“It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony,” she said. “I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him.”
It’s unclear whether New Yorkers can be quite so forgiving. Recent polls have indicated that Mr. Weiner has pulled together a surprisingly credible mayoral bid: Surveys put him in either second or first place in the race to win the Democratic primary in September.
But that was before voters were reminded of his penchant for crotch shots and raunchy chats with strangers. In the latest case, the woman told The Dirty that Mr. Weiner sent explicit messages over social networks under an alias: “Carlos Danger.” The website also posted what it said were two photos of Mr. Weiner’s penis, blurring the relevant anatomy.
Mr. Weiner’s rivals are clearly fed up; three of them called upon him to withdraw from the race. “Enough is enough,” said Bill DeBlasio, the city’s public advocate, on Tuesday. “The sideshows of this election have gotten in the way of the debate we should be having about the future of this city.”
John Liu, another Democratic candidate for mayor, said in a statement that the controversy was fundamentally a matter between Mr. Weiner and Ms. Abedin. However, he added, “The propensity for pornographic selfies is a valid issue for voters.”
Mr. Weiner is just one of two candidates trying to outrun past transgressions this fall. The other is Eliot Spitzer, the one-time governor of New York state who resigned after frequenting prostitutes. Mr. Spitzer is making a bid for the office of city comptroller, which oversees New York’s finances.
After Tuesday afternoon’s press conference, Mr. Weiner pressed ahead with his campaign. Next on the day’s agenda: a forum of mayoral candidates in midtown Manhattan.