Weiner Resigns Amid Controversy

New York City Rep. Anthony Weiner says he will follow the advice of many in Washington and resign. For weeks, Weiner has tried to hold on to his congressional seat — even after he admitted sending lewd online message to women, and then lying about it. But Weiner changed course Thursday, announcing his resignation at a news conference in his district, which includes parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

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New York City Congressman Anthony Weiner says he will follow the advice of many here in Washington and resign. Weiner had been trying to hold on to his congressional seat, even after he admitted sending lewd online message to women and lying about it. But, he changed course today. Weiner announced his resignation at a news conference in his district, which includes parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

NPR's Joel Rose was there.

JOEL ROSE: There was no sign of the tearful Anthony Weiner who rambled for close to an hour at his last press conference, the one where he admitted to lying about the illicit photos and messages he sent to a range of women. Today, Weiner spoke for less than five minutes, and he got right to the point.

Representative ANTHONY WEINER (Democrat, New York): I had hoped to be able to continue the work that the citizens of my district elected me to do, to fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it. Unfortunately, the distraction that I have created has made that impossible. So, today, I am announcing my resignation from Congress.

Unidentified Man #1: Yeah.

Unidentified Man #2: Thank God, pervert.

ROSE: Weiner made the announcement in front of what was supposed to be a friendly audience, at a senior citizen center in Brooklyn where he first ran for city council more than 20 years ago. But the event went off script when hecklers interrupted the press conference, including one who was intent on asking about Weiner's physique. Still, many in the crowd seemed disappointed by his decision to step down, including Angela Sorge(ph) of Midwood.

Ms. ANGELA SORGE: I think he should have stayed in there, and it would have died down eventually. Somehow, I think he still could do his job, but I think he gave up too easily. I think the pressure was just too much. I don't know.

ROSE: That pressure came largely from congressional Democrats who were preparing to strip Weiner of his committee assignments, and many of his constituents agree that it's time for Weiner to go.

Donna Bossalovich(ph) has liked Weiner since he was an aide to Senator Chuck Schumer.

Ms. DONNA BOSSALOVICH: I still like him, but I'm very, very disappointed, obviously, in his lack of judgment. And I really feel that it's a terrible shame because I think that he probably could have made a difference, and he would have had a bright future, and he threw it all away. For what?

ROSE: At the end of his resignation speech, Weiner thanked his family and wife, State Department aide Huma Abedin, for standing with him, which was an odd way of putting it because Abedin was nowhere to be seen. Anthony Weiner didn't say what he would be doing next, but he didn't sound like a man who is ready to retire from public life.

Joel Rose, NPR News, New York.

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