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Question of the Day
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John A. Boehner on Tuesday joined President Obama and a chorus of other Democrats in suggesting that Rep. Anthony D. Weiner, New York Democrat, resign, while a member of Mr. Weiner's state congressional delegation said she expects him to quit soon.
Mr. Boehner, who until now has let Democrats wrestle with Mr. Weiner's sexually charged messages and photos to several women, responded with a one-word answer when reporters asked whether Mr. Weiner should quit.
"Yes," Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, responded.
Earlier, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, New York Democrat, told reporters, "Hopefully, we are hearing he might resign in a couple of days." She did not say how she learned that Mr. Weiner may soon buckle under the pressure.
Mr. 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. Robert E. Andrews, New Jersey Democrat, said after a meeting of all House Democrats that 95 percent of the meeting concerned energy prices. He said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, repeated her past statements. Mrs. Pelosi has called for Mr. Weiner to resign.
Mr. Andrews said there was no discussion of stripping Mr. Weiner of his assignment on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
A House Democratic official said the caucus did not consider any action against Mr. Weiner because party members wanted to see whether the mounting pressure would persuade him to leave on his own. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the meeting.
Mr. Obama's blunt words could help Democrats trying to oust Mr. Weiner.
"I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign," Mr. Obama told NBC's "Today" show in an interview that aired Tuesday. In a rare foray into a congressman's ethical conduct, Mr. Obama said MR. 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.
Mrs. 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 Mrs. Pelosi, several other Democrats have called for Mr. Weiner to quit, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Democrat, who is chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Congress returned to work Monday, and the House quickly approved without objection a two-week leave of absence for Mr. 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 Mr. Weiner continues to ignore calls to resign.
Mr. Weiner's vow to seek treatment and to work to repair his tattered reputation did little to ease the furor.
Republicans suggested that Mrs. Pelosi was not tough enough on Mr. Weiner. Michael Steel, a press aide to Mr. Boehner, said in an email that Mr. Weiner's intention to seek a leave of absence "puts the focus" on Mrs. Pelosi.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, who has called for Mr. Weiner to resign, said if Mr. Weiner does not leave, Democrats should consider taking away his committee assignment.
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