Hours before Democratic congressional leaders called on him to quit and he announced he was seeking professional treatment after his Internet sex scandal, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner was cheered in his home district early Saturday morning.
Some shook his hand, shouted words of encouragement or applauded. One woman even stopped him to say she was confident he would still become the city's next mayor.
Pursued by reporters and photographers peppering him with questions about the Internet sex scandal that threatens to derail his career as a lawmaker, Weiner at times wore an anguished look on his face as he hurriedly strode to a dry cleaner in his Forest Hills neighborhood at about 10 a.m. with a load of shirts over one arm.
He reiterated to the press that he had no intention of resigning and said he was just trying to get "back to normal."
"I've made some mistakes. I've acknowledged it. I'm trying to make it up to my wife and my family. But I also have to make it clear to my constituents that I want to get back to work for them. Not easy to do in this environment, but I'm doing the best I can," he said.
One reporter asked him how his wife was handling the scandal.
"She's doing well. She's a remarkable woman," Weiner said.
He declined to discuss revelations he had been exchanging private messages with a 17-year-old high school student, but said there was "nothing explicit, nothing indecent, absolutely nothing inappropriate" about the exchanges.
"This is another person who has gotten, unfortunately, sucked into this, and I don't want to make it any worse," he said.
A reporter asked if he planned to spend the weekend working, or just relaxing.
"This is pretty relaxing to me," Weiner deadpanned.
Polls have found that the congressman still enjoys support in his diverse New York City district.
People interviewed in his home neighborhood Saturday had a mix of opinions, with some condemning him, and others offering praise.
Even after Weiner said he was asking for a temporary leave from the House to seek professional treatment, some in his district continued to praise him.
"We like him. Why not? As long as he does a good job, why throw him out?" asked Manny Shakarov, 42, who works as a cleaner.
"Politics should not be mixed with personal life. He has to deal with his wife," said Olivia Gjoza, 20, who works at an antique shop. "I don't see how that would affect his politics ... They're making too big a deal of this."
Nick Villeta, expressed some surprise at the news that Weiner was seeking professional help for his behavior.
"Treatment? For what?" he said.
A friend, Jake Herter, 19, said he would also be sorry to see Weiner go.
"I'm a big supporter of what Weiner fought for in Congress, like equal rights for gays. It would be a shame to lose that because of a sex scandal."