Rep. Anthony Weiner tearfully admitted Monday that he had repeatedly lied about posting a lewd photo of himself on Twitter, but said he would not resign.
At an extraordinary news conference in Manhattan, Weiner also acknowledged having clandestine online relationships with six women over the past three years -- some after his marriage -- and sending them "messages and photos of an explicit nature."
"I have made terrible mistakes that have hurt the people I care about the most and I am deeply sorry," he said. "I lied because I was embarrassed," he said. "It was a dumb thing to do."
The stunning televised confession came after news outlets Monday began publishing new photos that Weiner purportedly sent to women, showing him posing shirtless.
Weiner's political future was immediately thrown into question. A combative seven-term Democrat representing Brooklyn and Queens, Weiner said he would run for re-election. But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats called for a House Ethics Commission probe.
"Congressman Anthony Weiner engaged in a deep personal failure and inappropriate behavior that embarrassed himself, his family, and the House," said Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Ultimately, Anthony and his constituents will make a judgment about his future."
Weiner, 46, would not say whether he would run for mayor in 2013, a race he seemed well-positioned for just two weeks ago.
At the news conference, Weiner apologized to conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who had first published the Twitter photo, and took a barrage of questions for 25 minutes. He was asked whether he was a sex addict (no answer), whether he would seek therapy (perhaps) and the ages of the women he had online relationships with ("I never had any intention of having a relationship with an underage woman.").
Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, a senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, did not join him at the news conference. He said he told her Monday morning that he had lied about the Twitter photo but that they would remain together. They were married last July, with former President Bill Clinton officiating.
"She was very unhappy, she was very disappointed and she told me as much," Weiner said.
Weiner tried to contain the scandal after it started on May 27, when a link to a lewd picture was sent publicly from his @RepWeiner Twitter account to a Seattle college student.
Weiner said that he intended to send the photo as a private message to the woman "as part of a joke."
"Once I realized I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked," he said. "I took it down and I said I had been hacked. I then continued with that story . . . which was a hugely regrettable mistake."
Breitbart had captured a screenshot of the tweet and published it on his website, BigGovernment.com. Weiner suggested at the time that Breitbart was complicit in hacking his account. Weiner denied he sent the photo but raised more questions by saying he could not say "with certitude" the photo was not of him.
In a bizarre prologue to the news conference, Breitbart said he had an "X-rated photo" of Weiner that he was not releasing out of concern for the congressman's family. "I'm here for some vindication," he said.
Monday Breitbart published new photos of a shirtless Weiner that a woman said the congressman had sent her. And other websites posted other explicit messages that Weiner purportedly had sent women.
Weiner said he had not seen those photos or messages.
"I can tell you," Weiner said, "that there were some women I had conversations with, that inappropriate things were sent by me."
Weiner said he had not violated any law or his oath of office to uphold the United States' Constitution. "I don't believe I used any government resources," he said.
With Anthony M. DeStefano
A suggestive photo of a man from the waist down and wearing only underwear is sent from Weiner's Twitter account to a 21-year-old Seattle woman, but is also available to the congressman's 40,000 followers. Weiner denies sending the photo.
His office issues a statement claiming his Twitter account was hacked.
Weiner says he hired an attorney to explore civil or criminal charges.
Weiner refuses to answer reporters' questions about the photo.
He says he can not be sure whether the photo is of him.
Weiner says the photo may be one of his private photos and continues to deny he sent the image.
Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart posts other suggestive photographs and messages allegedly sent to a second woman by Weiner who calls an afternoon press conference where he admits to sending the Twitter photo and acknowledges sending other inappropriate images and messages online. He says he will not resign.