Will the real weiner please stand up?
Embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner admitted on Wednesday that the lewd photograph dispatched via Twitter to a Seattle co-ed might be his own.
Weiner told MSNBC that he “could not say with certitude,” that the groin-level picture was not a part of his reed-thin frame — while still insisting that he never personally sent it, and that his computer was “hacked.”
“Someone committed a prank on the Internet,” Weiner said, suggesting that “something was manipulated” and that someone was having a laugh at his expense.
“The implication is I did something wrong,” the lawmaker said. “I was a victim of a prank.”
The latest revelation comes a day after an ashen Weiner was uncharacteristically humble in discussing a report posted over the Memorial Day weekend that Weiner had sent a picture of his midsection in gray-underwear to 21-year-old Gennette Cordova via his Twitter account. Within hours, the porno-Tweet became known as “Weinergate,” a scandal that could prick Weiner’s mayoral dreams.
“This is a distraction and I’m not going to let it distract me,” the usually peacock-proud, six-term congressman told reporters.
Weiner — whom we dubbed “the Midwood Mouth” last year after his latest explosion at his Republican colleagues on the House floor — did not smile at the uncomfortable press gathering, refusing to answer basic questions about the whole affair, including why he was even “following” a 21-year-old college student on Twitter in the first place.
To understand this fast-breaking, Internet-speed news story, here’s our “Weinergate” timeline:
• The picture — including what appeared to be an erection — was tweeted to the woman on Weiner’s account at 11:30 pm on Friday, May 27. But the tweet — and the underwear — was visible to all of the congressman’s nearly 50,000 followers.
• One of those followers was the writer of a conservative blog, Biggovernment.com, who managed to capture and repost the picture, airing the congressman’s dirty laundry about one hour later.
• Someone in Weiner’s office, or the congressman himself, quickly deleted the original post — a move that gave the growing scandal the name “Weinergate,” as some called the deletion a cover-up.
• The congressman said he took down the salacious post because his account had been “hacked,” though in the early hours of the scandal, he appeared to maintain his sense of humor.
“Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender going to attack me next?” he tweeted.
• Now Midwood’s big banana has hired a lawyer to “explore the proper next steps and to advise us on what civil or criminal actions should be taken,” said spokesman Dave Arnold.
This week, in the heart of Weiner’s district, the porno-Tweet incident barely got a rise out of his constituents.
“What’s the big deal? He’s a politician, but he’s still a man,” reasoned George Skevos inside the Mirage Diner on Kings Highway, where Weiner often has breakfast. “Whether or not he did it, he’s a man and he’s entitled to do what he wants.”
Others said it’s best to judge a man by the content of his character — and not by the junk in his trunk.
“You should vote for people based on what they do in the community and for society,” said Irina Grinberg of Sheepshead Bay. “It’s a silly picture, but it doesn’t seem pornographic to me. Personal is personal.”
If most of the reactions were muted, it might be because so few of Weiner’s people really know what Twitter is, despite its ubiquity since launching in 2006.
The social networking site started as a way for friends to keep each other abreast of each other’s comings and goings, but of late, it has become the new soapbox, where public figures and politicians can air their views without being interrupted by pesky reporters. On May 11, for example, Newt Gingrich sidestepped the “lamestream media” by announcing his presidential campaign on Twitter. And Sarah Palin recently tweeted her 534,000 followers a 140-character “letter” to President Obama.
As such, some were repulsed by the image of Weiner’s alleged unmentionables — and if Weiner did send it, would not vote for him because of it.
“Oh, please, that’s gross,” said Rita Berman. “If he’s representing us, he shouldn’t be doing this. He shouldn’t have a Twitter.”
Weiner’s political allies came to his quick defense.
“I don’t think there is the remotest possibility that a guy like Anthony Weiner would do something as dumb as has been suggested,” said Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Mill Basin). “Why would Anthony Weiner send a graphic photo to a girl in Seattle that he’s never met?”
Fidler wasn’t fazed that Weiner lawyered up — instead of demanding a federal investigation into the alleged e-crime. “In this gotcha mentality in the world, you do some things prophylactically to make sure.”
Last year, Weiner married to Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As such, the case is reminiscent of married Republican Rep. Chris Lee, the upstate lawmaker who quit last year after it was discovered that he was trolling for dates on Craigslist, and sending pictures of his shirtless torso. At the time, he initially claimed his computer was hacked.
The truth was just the opposite.