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Weiner abides despite new photo, baby on the way

By Laurie Kellman

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, June 9 2011 1:55 a.m. MDT

In this photo provided by "Inside Edition" Lisa Weiss, a blackjack dealer from Las Vegas, reacts while being iterviewed in Las Vegas Tuesday, June 7, 2011, by Jim Moret for an "Inside Edition" broadcast to be shown Wednesday, June 8. Weiss, 40, admitted to sexting with Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Inside Editon, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

WASHINGTON — Scandal-scarred Rep. Anthony Weiner is clinging to his perch in Congress despite new efforts to pry him away and a pair of developments that might inspire others in his position to give up the fight:

A newly released X-rated photo that Weiner purportedly took of himself turned up on the Internet.

And his wife of less than a year, Huma Abedin, is pregnant.

The baby on the way complicated an already ominous forecast for the 46-year-old congressman, who admitted on Monday that he had Tweeted sexually charged photos and messages to six women he did not know, then lied about it to his wife, his family and his constituents.

Weiner has refused to resign even as more embarrassing details have emerged about his online communications with at least six women.

Gennette Cordova, recipient of the photo of Weiner's crotch in gray underwear that began the furor, said it was such a startling turn in an online conversation mostly in support of his politics that she assumed the message was fake. "I have never sent him any suggestive messages," the 21-year-old college student from Washington state told The New York Times, in an interview published Thursday.

Lisa Weiss, a 40-year-old blackjack dealer from Las Vegas, said her online banter with Weiner began flirtatiously and he escalated to graphic comments: "I would want to talk politics," she said in an interview on Inside Edition. "But he would turn it creepy."

His fellow Democrats from the White House on down have left little doubt they want him to reconsider his refusal to leave office — and fast.

"Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress," Pennsylvania Rep. Allyson Schwartz said in a statement, becoming the first of a handful of congressional Democrats to make her wishes explicit, in public Wednesday.

"In light of Anthony Weiner's offensive behavior online," she added, "he should resign."

House Democratic leaders have begun a choreographed rollout of Weiner's colleagues saying publicly they want him to resign. They included: Representative Mike Ross of Arkansas, Michael H. Michaud of Maine, Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts, Larry Kissell of North Carolina and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Some senators also weighed in: Also Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas was one.

None interviewed said publicly or privately that they want Weiner to continue clinging to his seat.

There was no sign of a resignation, however, even as new developments made clear that Weiner's self-immolation already has cost him much: His credibility, his dignity, the confidence of his colleagues, his privacy and more. As Weiner made calls to save whatever support he had left, there were new revelations.

A photo showing a man's genitals was published Wednesday by a website after conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart showed it to the hosts of Sirius XM radio's "Opie & Anthony Show." In a statement, Weiner's spokeswoman pointed back to the Monday news conference, in which Weiner said he had sent explicit photos of himself over the Internet.

Officials also confirmed that Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife and a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is about three months pregnant. Weiner said at the news conference that the couple did not intend to split over the scandal. Abedin departed Wednesday with Clinton on an official trip to the Mideast and Africa.

Weiner, meanwhile, embarked on an apology tour by phone with colleagues spread across the country this week during the House's monthly break. One lawmaker said that in a phone conversation during the day, Weiner indicated he hopes to ride out the furor and remain in Congress. The lawmaker spoke on condition of anonymity, saying it was a private conversation.

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