"Anthony's decision to resign is right for him and his family, our party, and our country because we have serious work to do in Congress," Steve Israel, chair of the DCCC, said in a statement after Weiner's announcement. " Last week Republican leaders introduced a bill to privatize Social Security, and the American people deserve an undistracted debate on it, Medicare, jobs, and other important issues."
Despite his tough treatment by his colleagues in Washington, polls showed many of Weiner's constituents open to keeping him in office. A number of senior attendees at his final press conference shouted their approval throughout his brief speech.
"Everybody has hangups," Esther, 92, told TPM. "It's a shame."
She blamed the press for hounding him out of office: "They destroyed him."
Weiner was widely speculated to run for mayor on New York City in 2013, perhaps even as the frontrunner, but the embarrassment of recent weeks as well as his deceptive failed attempt to cover up his behavior make his political future uncertain. Within Congress, he cultivated a reputation for his brash and biting speaking style, which he often employed to eviscerate Republican proposals in floor speeches and constant cable news appearances. He gained particular prominence during the health care debate, where he became one of the most visible advocates for a public health care option, a feature favored by progressive Democrats that was ultimately left out of the final legislation.
"It's a tragedy," Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said of his fellow New Yorker's resignation. Calling his exit "inevitable," Nadler told TPM that the party would nonetheless miss Weiner's presence in the House.
"Congressman Weiner was extremely bright, extremely intelligent, he could articulate the issues very well and dramatize them," he said. "Any time you lose that kind of talent it's a loss."
Weiner is the fourth New York Congressman to leave office after a personal scandal in the last four years. Republican Chris Lee stepped down in February after it was revealed he sent shirtless photos to a woman on Craigslist, Democrat Eric Massa resigned last year after allegations of sexual harassment, and Republican Vito Fossella did not seek re-election in 2008 after he phoned his mistress to bail him out of prison following a drunk driving arrest.
Late update: Here's video of Weiner's resignation announcement: