WASHINGTON (AP) - New York Rep. Anthony Weiner denied Wednesday sending a lewd photo from his Twitter account to a 21-year-old woman, trying to calm a media furor that has only increased by the day and wasn't put to rest by the combative lawmaker's latest comments.
Weiner also acknowledged he "can't say with certitude" that the photo of a man's bulging underpants wasn't him.
Weiner, who on Tuesday angrily refused to answer reporters' questions about the incident, told MSNBC news Wednesday that he did not send the photo and that it was the work of a hacker. He also said he'd retained an attorney and hired a private security company to figure out how someone could pull off such a prank.
But Weiner also couldn't resist joining the parade of double entendres about the incident.
"I'm not sure I want to put national, federal resources into trying to figure out who posted a picture on Weiner's website, uh, whatever," Weiner said. "I'm not really sure it rises, no pun intended, to that level."
The photo was posted on Friday and sent to a female college student in Seattle. It was quickly deleted, but a frenzy of coverage and comment ensued on blogs, cable news outlets and other media.
The colorful and sometimes combative congressman who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens was characteristically sharp-tongued on Tuesday, refusing to answer reporters' questions, and even calling one a "jackass" for interrupting him. He insisted that he wanted to move on from the incident, which was distracting from his work on Capitol Hill.
But that changed Wednesday, as it became clear that the story and speculation about who may have been responsible for tweeting the photo, wasn't fading.
Weiner failed in a 2005 bid for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City, but he is still is widely considered a future contender for the office.
Weiner was a Twitter follower of the female college student who received the photo.
The tweet of the lewd photo first was reported Saturday by BigGovernment.com, a website run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart.
The site said the photo was tweeted to a female college student in Seattle. The woman told the New York Daily News that she had never met Weiner, and that there had "never been any inappropriate exchanges" between her and the congressman. Weiner, 46, is married to Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The congressman over the weekend joked about the incident on Twitter, asking whether his kitchen blender would be next to "attack" him.
On Tuesday as the House was preparing to vote on the nation's debt limit, Weiner was back tweeting about the vote with his usual partisan edge.