POLITICS

Weiner/Twitter controversy still alive

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. Anthony Weiner's pun-laden media blitz aimed at ending the furor over a lewd photo sent from his Twitter account seemed to have done half the job: He may have convinced the public that he didn't send the photo, but his uncertainty over whether the picture was of him only served to keep the scandal alive.

After a combative news conference earlier in the week in which Weiner refused to answer any questions about the incident, the New York Democrat spent Wednesday in a series of media interviews trying to explain the situation. But some answers - and his attempts at humor - seemed to make things worse.

"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."

The New York Daily News, whose editorial board met with Weiner on Wednesday, said it was convinced by his denial about sending the photograph because he has no reputation for being "loopy" or "lecherous." But it said his refusal to let law enforcement investigate the alleged cybercrime was suspicious.

"If a crime has been committed, there needs to be a prosecution, even if the stolen property tells an embarrassing tale," the Daily News editorial said.

At his Capitol news conference Wednesday, 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 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.

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