By Jonathan Lemire
NEW YORK: Anthony Weiner found himself caught in another sexting scandal Tuesday like the one that destroyed his congressional career, but stood side-by-side with his wife to say he won’t drop out of the race for mayor of New York.
“This is entirely behind me,” Weiner said at an evening news conference, hours after the gossip website The Dirty posted X-rated text messages and a crotch shot that it said the former congressman exchanged with a woman after he left office.
Weiner admitted sending a woman sexually explicit photos and messages and acknowledged the activity took place as recently as last summer, more than a year after he resigned from the House in disgrace for the same sort of behavior with at least a half-dozen women.
But with his wife, Huma Abedin, smiling shyly an arm’s length away from him, he said: “I want to bring my vision to the people of the city of New York. I hope they are willing to still continue to give me a second chance.”
Weiner then turned the microphone over to his wife, who did not appear with him at the June 2011 news conference when he stepped down from Congress over a scandal that began with a Twitter photo of his bulging underpants.
This time, Abedin reaffirmed her support for her husband and said the sexting matter is “between us.”
“I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward,” said Abedin, a longtime adviser to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The latest disclosures could severely test voters’ willingness to forgive Weiner, who has said he spent his two years in political exile since the scandal trying to make things right with his wife and earn redemption.
Three of his rivals for mayor immediately called on him to drop out of the race.
The 48-year-old Democrat has been near the top of most polls since his entry into the campaign in May.