Anthony Weiner defies calls to quit NY mayor race

"I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him."

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New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner has defied calls from rivals and newspapers to drop out, after admitting to yet another raunchy online affair.

Mr Weiner, who quit Congress in 2011 over a similar scandal, insisted he would stick to his campaign schedule, including an event later on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, an unnamed woman said he had used the alias Carlos Danger during a six-month cyber liaison.

Flanked by his wife, he apologised in a hastily arranged press conference.

In 2011, Mr Weiner resigned his seat in Congress after admitting to sending lewd photos of himself to young women. He at first claimed his Twitter account had been hacked.

'Never-ending sideshow'

The 48-year-old has been leading opinion polls of Democratic mayoral candidates ahead of November's election.

US media reaction

A Times Square newsstand with local papers displaying headlines on 24 July 2013

In an op-ed, the New York Times calls for the "serially evasive Mr Weiner" to leave the mayoral race but says his decision to stay is not surprising for "those who know his arrogance and have grown tired of the tawdry saga he has dragged the city into".

"A proven liar must not be mayor," writes the New York Daily News in summation of their own op-ed, arguing point by point why the former congressman has hurt himself and the mayoral election.

A New York Post columnist describes Mr Weiner as "a repulsive, uncontrolled, power-hungry publicity hound willing to humiliate everyone he loves by raising his profile yet again".

CNN political analyst Gloria Borger writes: "Weiner's problem is not just about his personal compulsions. It's also about his inability to tell the complete truth to the people he is asking to redeem and forgive him."

On Wednesday morning, he said his campaign was "too important to give up", and that he was not surprised his opponents wanted him to quit.

"I have posited this whole campaign on a bet," the embattled candidate told reporters.

"And that is that, at the end of the day, citizens are more interested in the challenge they face in their lives than in anything that I have done, embarrassing, in my past."

After the latest revelations, three of Mr Weiner's rivals - Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and City Councilman Sal Albanese, both Democrats, and Republican billionaire John Catsimatidis - called on him to stand aside.

"Anthony's presence in this race has become a never-ending sideshow that is distracting us from the debate of the serious issues of this election," Mr de Blasio said.

Mr Weiner's closest rivals in the contest, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and City Comptroller Bill Thompson, condemned his behaviour but stopped short of calling for him to bow out.

The woman at the centre of the latest allegations has said they began exchanging messages in July 2012 and continued for six months.

She said she was 22 years old when they made contact on the social networking website Formspring.

On Tuesday, Mr Weiner's 36-year-old wife, Huma Abedin, a long-time aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stood by him.

"I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him," she said.

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