Wife of Congressman Weiner is pregnant: report

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Representative Anthony Weiner withstood calls for him to resign over his online sex scandal on Wednesday as word emerged that the wife he has publicly humiliated is pregnant.

Huma Abedin, 35, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who married the congressman a year ago, is in the early stages of pregnancy with the couple’s first child, the New York Times reported, citing three unnamed people with knowledge of the situation.

Weiner, 46, a fiery liberal and rising star in the Democratic Party who many had seen as the next mayor of New York, is resisting calls from fellow Democrats and Republicans that he step down for sending lewd photos of himself to women with whom he had held steamy online chats.

“I think his hope and instinct is that he can stick it out,” said a senior New York Democrat, asking not to be identified. “We’ll see.”

After vehemently denying for more than a week that he sent a picture of his bulging boxer briefs to a woman in Seattle, claiming he was the victim of hacking, Weiner tearfully admitted to lying about the scandal on Monday.

He also vowed to remain in his post and preserve his marriage to Abedin, a glamorous aide to Hillary Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton officiated at their wedding last July amid much fanfare that Washington’s newest power couple was made of a Muslim, Abedin, and a Jew, Weiner.

The Times said the couple has disclosed the pregnancy to close friends and family.

Allyson Schwartz, a member of the House of Representatives Democratic campaign committee, made it clear she had seen enough of the scandal that was tarnishing the party’s image.

“Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress. In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior … he should resign,” Schwartz said.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Weiner violated any of the chamber’s rules, and former Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine, now running for the Senate from Virginia, said Weiner should step down.

House Republican Leader Eric Cantor on Tuesday became the first top U.S. lawmaker to say Weiner should quit.

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Dan Ripp of Bradley Woods, a private firm that tracks Washington for investors, said he expected Weiner to quit within days.

“I think he’s history,” Ripp said. “Democrats aren’t giving him the time of day. He has no clout. His own party is looking at him like a bozo. He is dragging them down.”

Back in New York, his constituents were split.

Howard Witz, a real estate broker in Brooklyn, part of Weiner’s district in New York City, said he would support Weiner again should he remain in politics.

“It’s a shame because he’s a very effective politician,” Witz said. “Disappointed? Maybe. But does it make me quit on him? No it doesn’t. As long as he didn’t commit a crime.”

Another New Yorker, Joe Mele, was more blunt.

“Mayor? I don’t think he should be dogcatcher,” Mele said.

A little more than half of New York City voters think Weiner should remain in office, according to a NY1-Marist poll taken just hours after his tearful admission.

But 56 percent said he should give up his hopes of becoming the next New York mayor in November 2013 elections.

Actor Alec Baldwin, long thought to be considering a political career, may jump into the race for mayor.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” his publicist Matthew Hiltzik said, responding to a report in The Daily online publication, which reported that the star of television’s “30 Rock” believed the Weiner scandal had improved his chances to become mayor.