A self-taken photo Weiner posted online
Embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner admitted Monday he sent dirty pictures of himself to Internet strangers and lied about it but he denied cheating on his wife - and said he wasn't stepping down.
"I have terrible mistakes that have hurt the people I care about the most," he said. "I regret not being honest about this. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated."
Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was not at his side.
They were married last year by former President Bill Clinton.
Weiner broke down several times during the press conference, especially as he apologized to his wife and constituents.
He admitted that the initial crotch photo that appeared in his Twitter stream 10 days ago was sent by him to a 21-year-old coed in Seattle. He said he meant to send it privately, but accidentally posted it publicly.
He said he lied when he claimed he'd been hacked.
"That was a very dumb thing to do," he said. "I'm sorry."
Weiner, a rising Democratic star who hopes to be elected mayor of New York, said he would weather Washington's first sext scandal.
As if the Weinergate scandal couldn't get more circus-like, Weiner's comments got a truly bizarre kickoff when conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart - who first published Weiner's crotch picture - hijacked the press conference to proclaim himself vindicated.
Breitbart walked up to the podium moments before 4 p.m. and made a speech, then began taking questions from the assembled reporters.
Presumably, Weiner had to wait behind the scenes as Breitbart triumphantly hogged the microphone for 13 minutes.
"I'd like an apology for him for being complicit in a blame-the-messager strategy," Breitbart said. "I'm here for some vindication."
After earlier publishing a shirtless photo that Weiner supposedly sent an internet stranger, Breitbart said he was holding a raunchier photo in reserve.
"There's at least one more photo," he said. "It's of an X-rated nature. I have no intention of releasing it. I'm doing this to save his family."
But he called it an insurance policy.
"If this guy wants to start fighting with me again, I have this photo," he said.
Weiner's claims of being hacked fell apart Monday as at least two new women came forward to say he sent them dirty pictures and messages.
One woman told RadarOnline she carried on a "longterm Facebook affair" with Weiner, trading sexy messages and photos for months this year.
The middle-aged Nevada woman, who was not identified, said she has 200 sexually explicit messages from Weiner and once spent a half hour talking dirty with him on the phone, but that she never met him.
RadarOnline published some of a March 16 exchange in which Weiner wrote that he had a "ridiculous bulge in my shorts now. wanna see?"
She said she asked him for a picture but he did not send it because he "got cold feet."
RadarOnline did not publish any photos purporting to be of Weiner.
Breitbart published a shirtless photo - apparently of Weiner, by Weiner, displaying a remarkably ripped chest - that he said the Brooklyn congressman mailed to another woman on May 20 using a private Yahoo email address.
A shirtless photo led to the lightning-fast resignation of upstate Rep. Chris Lee in February. Lee was a married, family values-pushing Republican who sent the photo to a woman he met on a dating website. Later reports said he also sought out transgender prostitutes.
Weinergate began 10 days ago when a photograph of bulging briefs appeared in the congressman's Twitter stream, addressed to a 21-year-old Seattle college student.
Weiner claimed he was hacked, insisting he never sent the photo, but he did not deny the photo might be of him.
"I don't know what photographs are out there in the world of me," he said last week.
He self-generated a cloud of skepticism by first holding a defensive press conference, then giving vague answers to direct questions, and finally trying to laugh the controversy away with a stream of double entendres.
His friends and political allies have been slow to come to his defense.
Democratic leaders have let it be known they are annoyed that Weiner's Internet hijinks are distracting from what they believe is a winning argument about Medicare.