Weiner/Twitter controversy still alive

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There were also questions about why the congressman, married recently to an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was following the female college student on Twitter.

Chris Lehane, a veteran Democratic strategist, said he was surprised Weiner had not been more forthcoming sooner.

"You aren't going to get by on a story of this nature without giving a comprehensive explanation," Lehane said. "The only way you can put out a fire that has been ignited with bad information is to douse it with good information."

Democratic strategist Steve McMahon said the congressman botched the first rule of crisis communications: getting out the facts as soon as possible.

"His answers have raised more questions than they've resolved," McMahon said. "I'm amazed somebody as smart and media savvy as he is can't see the impact of how he's handled it."

Weiner's New York congressional delegation colleagues weren't saying much about the situation on Wednesday.

"This appears to be a law enforcement matter," Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said in a statement.

The sexually suggestive photo was posted Friday and sent to the student in Seattle. The tweet of the lewd photo first was reported Saturday by BigGovernment.com, a website run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart.

Breitbart is also known for posting a video of an Agriculture Department employee, Shirley Sherrod, giving a speech that when edited by Breitbart, made it appear that she was making racist comments.

The photo on Weiner's account was quickly deleted, but it set off a torrent of speculative buzz.

Weiner told reporters he had been tweeting about the National Hockey League playoffs when he spotted the offending tweet.

"I saw it," Weiner told reporters at the Capitol. "I deleted it."

Weiner said he misjudged the furor the photo would cause.

Weiner has not explained why he was following the student on Twitter, one of just 198 people he follows on the social media site. Weiner is one of the more prolific tweeters in Congress and he has more than 50,000 followers, a number that grew over the past two days.

The woman has been identified by media outlets as Gennette Cordova. Despite multiple calls to phone numbers and an email address for Cordova, she could not be reached for comment by The Associated Press.

Cordova told the New York Daily News that the offending photo was sent from a hacker who has "harassed me many times after the congressman followed me on Twitter a month or so ago."

Cordova also told the Daily News she never had met Weiner, and that there had "never been any inappropriate exchanges" between her and the congressman.

Cordova was back with a Twitter feed this week, scolding others for re-tweeting a link about "the other `young luscious girls' being followed by AW on Twitter, you should be ashamed."'

Weiner, 46, married Clinton aide Huma Abedin last July, with former President Bill Clinton officiating. Before that, Weiner had been known as one of New York's most eligible bachelors.

Weiner failed in a 2005 bid for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City, but is considered a likely front-runner in the race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg when the mayor's third and final term ends in 2013.

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