- - Thursday, June 2, 2011

Publicly silent, fellow Democrats privately seethed Thursday over the distraction and furor surrounding the lewd photo sent from Rep. Anthony D. Weiner’s Twitter account, even as he declared again that he was finished talking about it.

Mr. Weiner’s pun-laden media blitz a day earlier only raised more questions about the embarrassing flap when he conceded he wasn’t sure whether the waist-down photo of a man’s bulging underpants was of him or not.

The New York Democrat’s refusal to involve law enforcement, instead turning the issue over to a private security company he hired because he said as a member of Congress he shouldn’t get special treatment, raised questions rather than answered them.

Mr. Weiner has insisted he did not send the photo, varyingly claiming he was the victim of a “hack” and a “prank.” He says he saw it online before deleting it.
There also were questions about why the congressman, married recently to an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was following Gennette Cordova, a female college student on Twitter to whom the picture was sent.

In an interview with the New York Post, the Seattle woman’s mother demanded that Mr. Weiner end the public furor by telling the whole truth.

“I’m really upset. I feel like he’s a person of power and influence, who can make a statement and make all this go away,” Carol Mizuguchi said, blasting Mr. Weiner for his public sidestepping.

Though generally mum in public, Democrats privately fumed at the forced detour in their arguments about Medicare and spending, leaving the generally well-liked seven-term congressman from Brooklyn and Queens largely to fend for himself for a third day in a row.

A scene on the House floor Wednesday afternoon seemed to highlight the situation. As newly elected New York Rep. Kathy Hochul was sworn in - after an upset special-election victory Democrats considered a sign of their ability to communicate their differences with Republicans on the future of Medicare - Mr. Weiner and House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland were locked in a nearly 10-minute animated conversation.

On Thursday, Mr. Weiner joined Democratic lawmakers at the White House, where the caucus met with President Obama. As they walked from buses on Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Weiner’s colleagues stonewalled when they were asked about him.

“I will have nothing to say about that,” said fellow New Yorker Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter. “I’m here to put people to work.”

“We’re not distracted by that,” said Rep. Robert E. Andrews of New Jersey.

Mr. Weiner has hired an attorney and a private firm to investigate the purported hack, but Twitter’s policy states it will not provide information about postings without a subpoena, court order or other legal documents, raising questions about why law enforcement wasn’t investigating a possible cybercrime against a member of Congress. By hiring a private firm, Mr. Weiner controls the release of information about the investigation.

Kimberly Schneider, a spokeswoman for the Capitol Police, said Thursday that the department was not probing the incident because “we have not been asked to investigate.”
However, Mr. Weiner’s office did decide to use police authority to keep reporter Marcia Kramer of New York TV station WCBS out of the congressman’s Capitol Hill office, according to an account on the WCBS Web site describing the reporter’s bid to get an interview.

“After Kramer left Weiner’s office, his staff called the Capitol Police.

One cop told Kramer that if she went into Weiner’s office and didn’t leave if she was asked, she could be arrested,” WCBS reported.

Ms. Kramer denies that she refused to leave the office or had to be ordered out by Mr. Weiner’s staff.

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