Boehner adds to calls for Weiner resignation
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday joined President Barack Obama and a chorus of other Democrats in suggesting that Rep. Anthony Weiner resign, while a member of Weiner's New York congressional delegation said she expects him to quit soon.
Boehner, who until now has let Democrats wrestle with Weiner's sexually charged messages and photos to several women, responded with a one-word answer when reporters asked whether Weiner should quit.
"Yes," he responded.
Earlier, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., told reporters, "Hopefully, we are hearing he might resign in a couple of days." She did not say how she learned that Weiner may soon buckle under the pressure.
Weiner is seeking professional help at an undisclosed location. His wife, State Department official Huma Abedin, is due back from an overseas trip early Wednesday.
Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., said after a meeting of all House Democrats that 95 percent of the meeting concerned energy prices. He said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi repeated her past statements. Pelosi has called for Weiner to resign.
Andrews said there was no discussion of stripping Andrews of his assignment on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Obama's blunt words could help Democrats trying to oust Weiner.
"I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign," Obama told NBC's "Today" show in an interview that aired Tuesday. In a rare foray into a congressman's ethical conduct, Obama said Weiner's actions were "highly inappropriate."
"I think he's embarrassed himself. He's acknowledged that. He's embarrassed his wife and his family. Ultimately, there's going to be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that, if it was me, I would resign," the president said.
Pelosi told reporters Monday, "I hope that the president having spoken and some leaders in Congress speaking out that Congressman Weiner will hear this and know that it's in his best interest for him to leave Congress."
The cascade of raunchy photos and other revelations about the 46-year-old married congressman has been a distraction for Democrats seeking an edge as they look ahead to the 2012 elections. Besides Pelosi, several other Democrats have called for Weiner to quit, including party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Congress returned to work Monday and the House quickly approved without objection a two-week leave of absence for Weiner. The congressman's spokeswoman has declined to provide information on his whereabouts.
The House Ethics Committee has begun a preliminary inquiry that could bloom into a full investigation if Weiner continues to ignore calls to resign.
Weiner's vow to seek treatment and to work to repair his tattered reputation did little to ease the furor.
Republicans suggested that Pelosi was not tough enough on Weiner. Michael Steel, a press aide to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an e-mail that Weiner's intention to seek a leave of absence "puts the focus" on Pelosi.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who has called for Weiner to resign, said if Weiner does not leave, Democrats should consider taking away his committee assignment.