Rep. Anthony Weiner isn’t doing himself any favors as he tries to control the fallout from what he says was an Internet prank that sent an explicit photo of a man’s underwear-clad crotch from his Twitter account to a 21-year-old college student in Seattle.
The New York Democrat has repeatedly denied sending the photo, but on Wednesday he refused to rule out that he was the man featured in it.
“You know, I can’t say with certitude,” he said in an interview with NBC News after being asked if he was the man in the photo. “My system was hacked, pictures can be manipulated, dropped in and inserted.”
Those comments raise plenty of questions, not the least of which is: Who else would have access to graphic photos of Weiner? (Although another one would be: Who uses the word "certitude"?)
His PR stumble also means that this story isn’t going away anytime soon, especially when the only other options for political reporters appear to be either Sarah Palin’s magical mystery bus tour, or the scripted partisan bickering over the debt ceiling. Oh yeah, and the obvious puns don’t hurt either.
Weiner’s refusal to rule out that he was the man in the photo comes one day after the normally media-savvy congressman grew combative with a gaggle of reporters who pressed him for specifics over whether he knew the woman to whom the photo was sent.
That led to plenty of speculation from political pundits and other talking heads about why Weiner was so defensive and unspecific, about something that many appeared ready to grant was in fact the latest Twitter prank.
The exact scope of the political fallout for Weiner remains unclear. But already some are wondering what it would mean for his potential 2013 bid to become New York City mayor.
“Sex wakes everyone but the dead,” Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic consultant, told the Washington Post. “This is a major story in New York City. No answered questions [and] no resolution equals more scandal, more sex, and a wounded Weiner.”
Check out the NBC interview below: