An allegedly phony tweet sent from Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) Twitter account featuring a lewd picture is drawing increasing interest as the lawmaker refuses to answer reporters’ questions on the incident.
TPM caught up with Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) after his vote on a debt limit increase to see if he would clear up some of the remaining issues that media outlets have raised since a photo of an unidentified man’s crotch was publicly sent to a college student and then quickly deleted on his Twitter account. He has claimed that his account was hacked and the person who received the photo says they have no relationship. On Tuesday, he testily evaded follow-up questions from news outlets like CNN on the topic and conservative news site The Daily Caller has repeatedly pressed the congressman for a yes or no answer on whether the picture in question is of Weiner.
“Look here’s the decision I made and you can disagree with it,” he told TPM when asked for a clear answer on whether it was him in the photo, “that after two and a half days of statements that answer these questions that I’m not going to keep drilling into further details and further details, even one … even the easy questions, even the obvious questions, even the ones I’ve answered before.”
Weiner went on: “Because I don’t believe in the idea you believe in that this will end. I have four separate emails from a New York Post reporter saying if you just answer this one question it will be over. You know people may not believe me, they believe Breitbart, whatever it is. I’m going to do the work I got to do and somewhere I’ve got to say I’m done talking about it. I’m going to decide what I’m going to talk about for the next several days and it’s not going to be this.”
A reporter interrupted to ask him if he had exchanged messages with a stripper on Twitter who mentioned on her feed in March that she had been in contact with Weiner online.
“See what I mean?” he said.
He did depart from his blanket rule on comments once, however. TPM asked Weiner if he could clarify why he followed the woman that received the lewd photo, which he would not discuss with CNN. His Twitter feed tracks a relatively light number of people, many of whom are politicians, public figures, and news outlets. He said that he followed some fans who used the hashtag #WeinerYes on the site as well — we did a quick search that shows he tweeted a #WeinerYes post looking for new accounts to follow as recently as May 13.
“Now I violated my own rule,” he said. As long as he was talking again, TPM again asked for a blanket denial that he had anything to do with the incident, which he again refused. “Take a look at my statements over the weekend, you’re not being fair to me,” he said.
Meanwhile, the newfound attention is doing wonders for his popularity on Twitter.
“I passed Michele Bachmann in Twitter followers,” he bragged. “Finally did it.”
This story has been updated.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.