Blogger says he has X-rated photo involving Weiner
WASHINGTON (AP) - The conservative blogger who reported that a photo of a man's crotch had been sent from Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter account to a woman college student says he has an X-rated picture he'll publicize if the New York Democrat attempts reprisals against him.
Conservative activist Andrew Breitbart of the website BigGovernment.com tells NBC's "Today" show he considers the image "an insurance policy" against attacks from Weiner, who on Monday admitted the crotch photo was of him.
The married Weiner also acknowledged he had engaged in inappropriate contact with six women over three years through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and occasionally over the phone.
Breitbart told NBC Tuesday that if Weiner wants to open himself to further investigation, "there are a lot of women" who could come forward. Asked directly if he considered the purported unpublicized picture an insurance policy, Breitbart replied, "I don't like to think of it that way."
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Republican Party said Tuesday that Weiner should resign.
Reince Priebus said in a statement that either House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz believe that members of Congress are held to a different standard, or they believe the congressman's actions demand his departure from the House.
The Democratic National Committee did not have an immediate comment.
The National Republican Congressional Committee also seized on the Weiner scandal as a 2012 campaign issue, issuing press releases calling on more than a dozen House Democrats to return campaign contributions from Weiner.
One of them, Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, said she was donating a $1,000 campaign contribution last year from Weiner to a local charity.
Republicans sought to turn House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's celebrated campaign pledge in 2006 to "drain the swamp" of corruption and ethical abuses in Washington against the Democrats.
"After dragging her feet while her colleagues abused their office, it is past time that Leader Pelosi take a small step to start draining the swamp her party waded in while she was Speaker," said Paul Lindsay, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee in a statement.
GOP ethics woes helped Democrats take control of Congress in 2006.
Weiner vowed on Monday he would not resign his seat, and apologized repeatedly at a news conference for his actions.
Pelosi issued a statement afterwards calling for the House ethics committee to investigate.
Weiner faces a cool reception from even some of his closest allies in Congress as he clings to a once-promising political career.
Pelosi and other members of the Democratic leadership voiced their disappointment in Weiner and pointedly urged the House ethics committee to launch an investigation to determine if the outspoken New York
Democrat broke House rules. Their calls came shortly after the married Weiner's profuse public apology for "inappropriate" online exchanges with six women.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says he cannot Weiner. Reid told reporters on Tuesday that he wished there were some way he could defend the New York congressman, but he can't. It was the latest sign of the cool response Weiner is getting from fellow Democrats embarrassed by his online sex scandal.
Asked what he would do if Weiner called him for advice, Reid said he'd tell him to call somebody else.
The second-ranking House Democrat, Maryland's Steny Hoyer, called for Weiner to make full disclosure.
The cool but so-far not fatal reception from his House colleagues contrasted sharply with the fate that befell fellow New York Rep. Christopher Lee, who sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist. Within a matter of hours of the photo being disclosed, the Republican met with House Speaker John Boehner and resigned.
House Republicans have stated there would be zero tolerance for misbehavior by members in their ranks. And even if Weiner did nothing illegal, House ethics rules state that members must comport themselves in a manner befitting their office, enough to trigger an investigation into Weiner's online social life.
And House Democrats weren't exactly circling around him in support.
One of Weiner's New York colleagues, Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said it would rest with the voters of Weiner's district, which covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens, to determine the seven-term congressman's fate.
"Congressman Anthony Weiner engaged in a deep personal failure and inappropriate behavior that embarrassed himself, his family and the House," Israel said. "Ultimately, Anthony and his constituents will make a judgment about his future."
Weiner on Monday admitted sending a lewd photo of his underwear-clad crotch to a young woman over Twitter and then lying repeatedly to protect himself.
The extraordinary confession at a packed Manhattan news conference was a remarkable turn of events for the brash Weiner, who conceded to a "hugely regrettable" lapse in judgment.
Weiner insisted he had done nothing wrong and said he would fully cooperate with a House inquiry.
Weiner said he used his home computer and personal Blackberry, not government computers, in his exchanges with the women. But that may not protect him from House rules that say a member "shall conduct himself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House."