SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

July 24, 2013

Anthony Weiner admits to more lewd photos

(Continued)

The other leading Democratic candidates, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, did not immediately comment on the new revelations.

The disclosure suddenly puts Weiner’s indiscretions, judgment and candor back in the forefront of his campaign and could test voters’ confidence in him, political analysts said.

Some voters have said they felt Weiner had atoned for his past and were willing to give him a second chance. But a third, after hearing allegations that his misbehavior continued after his resignation?

“It makes it tougher to believe this is behind him,” said Democratic former state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, now a political consultant.

But given the corps of voters who have shown willingness to forgive Weiner’s prior behavior, the latest revelation may not be a campaign knockout, said Jerry Skurnik, a longtime Democratic consultant who is not working with any mayoral candidates this year.

“At best, it’s a minor negative” that will turn off some voters, he said. “The question is whether it’s a major negative” — and whether there were enough forgiving voters to begin with for Weiner to win.

The revelations come just two weeks after another scandal-scarred candidate, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, announced his own attempt at political redemption. Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 after admitting to paying for sex with prostitutes, is running for city comptroller.

Weiner’s problems began in May 2011, when a website run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart posted a photograph of a man’s bulging underwear and said it had been sent from Weiner’s Twitter account to a Seattle woman. Weiner denied he sent the photo, claiming his Twitter had been hacked.

But after more women came forward and more photographic evidence emerged — some of it X-rated — Weiner admitted he lied.

He then entered two years of self-imposed political exile, only to return this spring.

Under a huge media spotlight, he apologized repeatedly for his behavior in the initial days of his bid but then pivoted quickly into an issues-based campaign. He was largely well-received by voters and quickly established himself as a favorite in the race.

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