Rep. Anthony Weiner said Thursday that he’s zipping his lips about a lewd photo sent from his Twitter account to a 21-year-old female Seattle student last week.
"This prank has apparently been successful,” Weiner told reporters Thursday outside his Capitol Hill office. “After almost 11 hours of answering questions … today I'm going to have to get back to work.”
Later, his staff summoned police when CBS reporter Marcia Kramer pressed him for an interview.
The married 46-year-old Congressman clammed up after a Charlie Sheen-esque press-blitz on Wednesday only fueled the frenzy. He denied sending the crotch shot of an aroused underwear-clad man, but said he wasn’t sure whether it was him in the photo.
His clumsy response to the scandal, however, may hurt his expected 2013 mayoral bid.
“He's coming across evasive and nervous, and unfortunately undercutting his credibility in the region," said Matt Wolfrom of public relations firm Makovsky & Company. "Transparency and accountability are table stakes, and being evasive and trying to hide from something ... has no fit in the market right now."
Jeff Ansell, author of “When the Headline Is You: An Insider's Guide to Handling the Media” added that Weiner's appearance on CNN looked “like a train wreck.”
“It's dirt under his fingernails, and I think it's gonna stick," Ansell said. "The response is one that I think has been bungled, and he'd have to jump through an awful lot of extraordinary hoops to make us forget about this."
New Yorkers gave us their take on how Anthony Weiner has handled his scandal and the impact on his potential run for mayor.
“I don’t think he should pull out (of the mayor’s race) on the basis of this. I still think that Twitter aside, his private life should not trump his public career.” — Ernest Gilman, 65, West Village
“He’s beating around he bush, the fact that he can’t say for certain that the picture is of him. I think the outcome of this might affect his mayoral run. If no questions are answered by that time it would have a very negative impact.” — Casey Fulgenzi, 23, East Village
“If he in fact did send the photo and there are big repercussions, it would definitely affect his run. I have to look at the issues he will address and how he will help people in New York [deciding whether to vote for him.]" — Timothy Thompson, 44, The Bronx