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Democrats hoping Rep. Weiner will quit on his own

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Democrats played a waiting game on
Tuesday in the online sex case of Rep. Anthony Weiner, counting on
mounting pressure from colleagues, a suggestion from the president
and his wife's return from an official trip to persuade Weiner to
quit.
The strategy surfaced at a meeting of all House Democrats, when
members cast aside discussion of Weiner's sexually charged online
postings and decided instead to let him think about calls from
high-powered party members to leave.
The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, made the suggestion again after the meeting, saying she wanted to make sure nobody missed her earlier resignation call while members were on a
week-long recess. Pelosi said she concluded that "with the love of
his family, the confidence of his constituents and the need for
help...Congressman Weiner should resign from the Congress."
A fellow member of Weiner's New York Democratic delegation, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, said before the party meeting, "Hopefully, we
are hearing he might resign in a couple of days."
When she emerged later, she added, "He's waiting for his wife
to come home. That's what we're hearing from his friends."
Weiner's wife, State Department official Huma Abedin, is due
back from an overseas trip early Wednesday with her boss, Secretary
of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Weiner, meanwhile, has sought
treatment at an undisclosed location, and has been granted a
two-week leave of absence from Congress.
But even as top Democrats tried to pressure Weiner into
resigning, Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York's senior senator and the
Senate's No. 3 Democrat, has not taken a stand on whether the
seven-term congressman, a longtime friend, should resign.
Asked Tuesday about whether he would support whatever Weiner decides about his political future - even if he decides to stay -
Schumer focused his comments on the personal side of Weiner's
plight.
"As I said this weekend, those of us who have been friends with
Anthony Weiner for a very long time feel his wrongful behavior is
distressing, saddening and heartbreaking," Schumer told reporters.
"It's clear he needs professional help. That's what he sought. And
that's all I'm gonna say."
Schumer, Weiner's political mentor, gave Weiner his first job on
Capitol Hill when Schumer was a congressman.
House Speaker John Boehner had been content to let Democrats
wrestle with the embarrassing scandal, but when asked Tuesday
whether Weiner should resign, responded "Yes."
Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., said after the Democratic meeting that
95 percent of it concerned energy prices. Andrews said there was no
discussion of stripping Weiner of his assignment on the Energy and
Commerce Committee.
President Barack Obama spoke bluntly about Weiner in an
interview that aired Tuesday.
"I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign," Obama told
NBC's "Today" show. 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.
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 Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz,
D-Fla.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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