- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - Anthony Weiner’s attempt Wednesday to end the media storm surrounding a lewd photo sent from his Twitter account only led to more questions, as he denied sending the picture but couldn’t say “with certitude” that the man in it wasn’t him.

After a combative news conference on Tuesday in which Weiner refused to answer any questions about the incident, the Democratic lawmaker spent Wednesday in a series of media interviews trying to explain the situation. But some answers _ and his attempts at humor _ only stirred up the situation further.

“We know for sure I didn’t send this photograph,” the seven-term congressman told reporters in the Capitol. But he told MSNBC he “can’t say with certitude” that the waist-down photo showing a man’s bulging underpants wasn’t him.

Pressed by reporters about whether it was him in the offending photo, Weiner said: “We don’t know where the photograph came from. We don’t know for sure what’s on it.”


And then the colorful congressman couldn’t resist several double entendres, explaining why he didn’t report the alleged hacking to Capitol Police.

“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. I’m not really sure it rises, no pun intended, to that level.”

Later, he quipped that maybe the alleged hacking was just “the point of al-Qaida’s sword.”

Despite his denial, questions still lingered about the incident.

Weiner said he had hired a private security firm to investigate the alleged hacking and an attorney to advise him on what civil or criminal actions should be taken.

“If it turns out there’s something larger going on here, we’ll take the requisite steps,” he told reporters when asked why he hadn’t asked for a police probe.

There were also questions about why the congressman, married recently to an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was following the female college student on Twitter.

Chris Lehane, a veteran Democratic strategist, said he was surprised Weiner had not been more forthcoming sooner.

“You aren’t going to get by on a story of this nature without giving a comprehensive explanation,” Lehane said. “The only way you can put out a fire that has been ignited with bad information is to douse it with good information.”

Democratic strategist Steve McMahon said the congressman botched the first rule of crisis communications: getting out the facts as soon as possible.

“His answers have raised more questions than they’ve resolved,” McMahon said. “I’m amazed somebody as smart and media savvy as he is can’t see the impact of how he’s handled it.”

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