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NATION • BUSINESS

L AWRENCE J OURNAL -WORLD

X Friday, June 17, 2011

| 7A.

Weiner resigns amid sex scandal By Karen Zraick and Andrew Miga Associated Press Writers

NEW YORK — Defiant and combative no longer, New York Rep. Anthony Weiner soberly announced his resignation from Congress on Thursday, bowing to the furor caused by his sexually charged online dalliances with a former porn actress and other women. Democratic Party leaders, concerned that Weiner could weigh the party down in the 2012 elections, welcomed the announcement after days spent trying to coax, push and finally coerce the wayward 46-year-old into quitting. Known as brash, liberal and ambitious, Weiner had run for mayor of New York in 2005 and had been expected to do so again. He was in his seventh term in Congress. At an appearance in Brooklyn that drew hecklers as well as supporters, Weiner apologized “for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused,” particularly to his wife, Huma Abedin. Pregnant with the couple’s first child, she was absent as she had been 10 days ago when Weiner first admitted sending inappropriate messages and photos to women online — after earlier denying emphatically he had done so. In his brief farewell appearance, Weiner said he initially hoped the controversy would fade but then realized “the distraction that I have created has made that impossible.” That conclusion echoed

Seth Wenig/AP Photo

ANTHONY WEINER ANNOUNCES HIS RESIGNATION from Congress during a news conference Thursday in Brooklyn, N.Y. Weiner resigned after a scandal spawned by lewd photos of himself that the New York lawmaker sent online to numerous women. party off icials who had become worried that the intense public focus on Weiner — and the Republican political rhetoric sure to follow — would complicate their campaign efforts in 2012. “Congressman Weiner exercised poor judgment in his actions and poor judgment in his reaction to the revelations,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement released moments after he spoke. “Today, he made the right judgment in resigning.” Weiner made his announcement at the same senior citizen center in Brooklyn where he announced his candidacy for the New York city council in 1992. He declined to answer questions, leaving unaddressed whether he envi-

sioned his resignation as the end of a once-promising political career — or merely a painful pause of uncertain duration. “Now I’ll be looking for other ways to contribute my talents so that we live up to that most New York and American of ideals,” he said. Nor did he explain his presence in New York, several days after issuing a statement that said he was seeking treatment. Other Democrats said he had left the city to do so. He had succeeded his mentor, Sen. Chuck Schumer, who vacated the seat to run for the Senate. The senator, one of a few prominent Democratic leaders who did not call for Weiner’s resignation, issued a statement saying the congressman “has served his community, city and country well for over two decades.”

Weiner’s departure marks the end of a bizarre period born of the New Yorker’s use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook. His problems began on May 28 when a website run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart posted a lewd photograph of an underwear-clad crotch and said it had been sent from Weiner’s Twitter account to a Seattle woman. And as the scandalous chapter neared its conclusion, a former pornography actress who exchanged emails and messages over Twitter with him said Wednesday at a news conference he had asked her to lie about their interactions. Ginger Lee said she and Weiner exchanged about 100 emails between March and June after Lee posted a supportive statement about the congressman on her blog. He then contacted her on Twitter, Lee said. They mostly discussed politics, but he would often turn the conversation to sex, she said. “‘I have wardrobe demands, too. I need to highlight my package,”’ Weiner wrote Lee, in an email read aloud at the news conference by Lee’s attorney. Weiner’s initial reaction after the first photo became public more than two weeks ago was to lie, and he did so repeatedly, saying his Twitter account had been hacked. But he pointedly did not report the incident to law enforcement — a step that could have opened him to charges of far more serious wrongdoing.

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BUSINESS AT A GLANCE

Notable Buyer’s remorse already may be setting in for some investors in Internet radio station Pandora Media Inc. After intense demand drove up the price for Pandora’s initial public offering of stock, the shares lost nearly a quarter of their value their second day of trading. Thursday’s harsh reversal of fortune left Pandora’s stock below its IPO price of $16. The shares fell $4.16, or 24 percent, to close at $13.26. ● Redbox will roll out video game rentals across its network of kiosks, with 21,000 of its 27,000 kiosks nationwide will offer a mix of games and movies starting today. Games cost $2 a day to rent, while Bluray movies cost $1.50 and regular DVDs are $1.

Thursday’s markets Dow Industrials +64.25, 11,961.52 Nasdaq —7.76, 2,623.70 S&P 500 +2.22, 1,267.64 30-Year Treasury —.04, 4.16% Corn (Chicago) —24.25 cents, $7.02 Soybeans (Chicago) —17.5 cents, $13.51 Wheat (Kansas City) —21 cents, $7.98 Oil (New York) +14 cents, $94.95

Economy gets small lift as layoffs ease

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week and builders broke ground on more homes in May. The latest data offered some hope that the economy may be improving after hitting a slump in late spring. Unemployment benef it applications fell to a seasonally adjusted 414,000, the Labor Department said. It was the second drop in three weeks and a positive sign that layoffs are slowing. Still, applications have been above 400,000 for 10 straight weeks, evidence that the job market is weak compared to earlier this year. Home construction rose last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 560,000 units per year, the Commerce Department said. Economists say the pace of construction is far below the 1.2 million homes per year that must be built to sustain a healthy housing market. Many credit-strapped builders are struggling to compete with low-priced foreclosures. The modest improvements in two of the economy’s most troubled areas were enough to give Wall Street a lift after a major sell-off the previous day. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 64 points in afternoon trading. Broader indexes also rose. Investors seemed to look

past fears that Greece will be forced to default on its bonds — an event that could trigger another financial crisis — and a poor readout of manufacturing conditions in the Northeast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Unemployment applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals sustainable job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for seven of nine weeks. But applications surged in April to 478,000 — an eight-month high — and they have declined slowly since then. Economists said the steady decline in unemployment applications signals that the job market is improving, but at a very slow pace. “This is not a derailing of the economy,” said Bricklin Dwyer, an economist at BNP Paribas. “This is a period of weak growth, and we’re going to see this for some time.” The elevated level of applications suggests that companies pulled back on hiring in the face of higher gas and food prices, which have cut into consumer spending. Hiring has slowed sharply since applications rose. Employers added only 54,000 net new jobs in May, much slower than the average gain of 220,000 per month in the previous three months. The unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent from 9 percent.

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Lawrence Journal-World 06-17-11  
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