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Capuano 'surprised and saddened' by Weiner revelations of lewd messages

Mass., N.Y. congressmen once were roommates

By Matt Viser
Globe Staff / June 8, 2011

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WASHINGTON—Representative Michael Capuano said this afternoon that he was “surprised and saddened” to learn of the online sexual conversations carried out over several years by his friend and former roommate, Representative Anthony Weiner.

The two scrappy Democrats shared an abode on Capitol Hill for nearly a decade, until Weiner got married last year. Weiner this week admitted that he had been exchanging inappropriate messages and photos with at least six women over the past several years, leading some to start calling for his resignation.

Some of those messages were sent during the time that Weiner and Capuano lived together, although an aide to Capuano said he was “completely surprised and knew nothing about it.”

The aide also said Weiner called Capuano after his Monday press conference to apologize.

"I was surprised and saddened to learn about my friend and colleague, Anthony Weiner's online activities,” Capuano said in a statement to the Globe this afternoon. “The matter has appropriately been referred to the House Ethics Committee and I fully expect that a thorough review of the matter will be conducted.”

“Decisions about his political future, absent the discovery of additional information and pending the Ethics Committee's findings, should be between Anthony and his constituents,” Capuano added.

Capuano isn’t the only Massachusetts native with close ties to Weiner. Actor Ben Affleck consulted repeatedly with Weiner during research for his role in the movie “State of Play,” where Affleck plays an ambitious politician.

During the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Affleck had mentioned to Weiner that if he were to run for Congress, he would run for seat held by Capuano.

“That’s a terrible idea,” Weiner said, according to a conversation recounted by the New York Times in an article headlined, “The Curious Friendship of Weiner and Affleck.” “Don’t do that. Who told you to do that? You’ll get killed.”

Affleck and Weiner met numerous times to discuss the movie, and had a happy banter with on another.

“There is something beautiful about a politician who is a real fighter,” Affleck told the Times. “Anthony is a guy who hits so hard and so clean.”

Matt Viser can be reached at maviser@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mviser.