NEW YORK — With his wife at his side, former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner vowed to stay in New York's mayoral race Tuesday after admitting he had carried on an online relationship with a woman that began after a similar sexting scandal forced him from his congressional seat.
It was a far different news conference than the one that Weiner held in June 2011, when he appeared ashen-faced and alone at a podium and gave up the congressional seat he had held since 1999. This time, Weiner strode confidently into a room with his wife, Huma Abedin, close behind. Both smiled as Weiner introduced himself as a "Democratic candidate for mayor," quickly quashing thoughts he might pull out of the race.
Weiner read a statement he had released earlier in the day admitting that he had engaged in a relationship with a woman online. Then, he stepped aside for Abedin, who was a top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and pregnant with the couple's first baby when the original sexting scandal derailed Weiner's career.
Abedin said that scandal, which involved several women and broke after Weiner accidentally tweeted a picture of his crotch to the world, was at "the beginning of a time in our marriage that was very difficult."
"It took a lot of work and a whole lot of therapy to get to a place where I could forgive Anthony," she said. But Abedin said she had done so.
"So really what I want to say is I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward," said Abedin.
The joint appearance came hours after news of the latest relationship broke on the gossip site thedirty.com, which quoted a 22-year-old woman as saying Weiner had approached her online in July 2012, 13 months after he had given up his congressional seat. According to the woman, Weiner used the alias "Carlos Danger" on an email account to send "penis pictures." She also said the two traded nude pictures and had phone sex.
The woman said Weiner promised her an apartment and a job, among other things, and that their communications carried on until the end of 2012. But she said he contacted her again in April 2013, when he reactivated his Facebook account and asked her what she thought of it.
She was identified only as "anonymous" and said she had come forward because, "he's running for NYC mayor so I felt I should get my story out there."
Weiner, both at the press conference and in an earlier emailed statement, said that "some things that have been posted today are true and some are not."
"There is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me," he added.
"I want to again say that I am very sorry to anyone who was on the receiving end of these messages and the disruption that this has caused. As my wife and I have said, we are focused on moving forward," said Weiner, who roiled the race to replace Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg when he announced his candidacy in May.
Since then, polls have shown him in a close race with the previous front-runner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The Democratic primary is Sept. 10.
At least three other candidates have called for Weiner to leave the race in the wake of Tuesday's developments. Quinn has not called for him to quit.