MIAMI (CBS4)-It may be the death knell for the embattled congressman’s career as the chairwoman of the DNC called for Anthony Weiner to step down. But Weiner has not said anything about resigning as he announced Saturday that he’s requesting a “leave of absence.”
Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the statement by the Democratic National Committee Saturday afternoon saying that Weiner should resign for the “good of all” and to focus on the well-being of his family and himself.
“It is with great disappointment that I call on Rep.Anthony Weiner to resign,” she said in the statement. “The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Representative Weiner’s continued service in Congress is untenable. This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House –and for the good of all, he should step aside and address those things that should be most important — his and his family’s well-being.”
Weiner, a Democrat, admitted on Monday to lying over the last week about unseemly photos of himself that he sent via Twitter to at least six women with whom he has had “internet relationships.”
Weiner is requesting a temporary of leave of absence from the House as he seeks “professional treatment.
The news came after several top Democrats called on the New York Democrat Saturday to resign.
“Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” a spokesperson said Saturday. “In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well. Congressman Weiner takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision possible for himself, his family and his constituents.”
CBS News Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reports that there has been a concerted effort by party leaders to try to get Weiner to resign. A senior Democratic aide told CBS News that they held off on putting out public statements in the hope he would step down without their public urging.
This morning Weiner informed Democratic leaders of his intention to seek treatment, indicating his unwillingness to resign (and thus squelch the Twitter scandal that first erupted two weeks ago). Consequently, top Democrats in the House put out statements calling for his resignation.
Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement saying, “Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help. I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress.”
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, visiting Miami with a group of congressional colleagues Tuesday, said she wouldn’t want to be “the first to cast stones,” but said there should be a House investigation into whether Weiner violated ethical standards or misused his office or government resources.
Ros-Lehtinen could not resist a moment of levity.
“I just wonder what’s with these guys,” she said, laughing, as she smacked Congressman Jeff Miller with a clipboard as he stood beside her at a news conference.
Miller, a Republican from North Florida, took a far more serious tone, saying Weiner had brought “dishonor on the House of Representatives and should go.”
Analysts say Weiner’s Internet sex scandal makes it all but certain he’ll sit out the race New York City mayor in 2013.
That has reshaped the political fight already simmering beneath the surface of New York City politics. And it has even led a celebrity, “30 Rock” actor Alec Baldwin, to publicly toy with the idea of jumping in to the game.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and CBS4’s Shaneeva Yassin contributed material for this report)