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Democrats push Weiner to resign immediately

Full frontal photo posted on website

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The political career of embattled Rep. Anthony D. Weiner appeared more tenuous Wednesday, as several fellow Democrats called on the New Yorker to resign after he admitted sending a lewd photo to a college student.

"Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress," said Rep. Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, a top official with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fundraising arm of House Democrats.

"In light of Anthony Weiner's offensive behavior online, he should resign."

Mrs. Schwartz's comments are particularly noteworthy because she heads up candidate recruiting and candidate services for the 2012 congressional elections.

Sen. Mark L. Pryor, Arkansas Democrat, when asked during a conference call with reporters whether Mr. Weiner should resign, responded that "it would be fine with me if he did."

"Ultimately, that's up to him and his constituents and his family, but I think at this point it would probably be a good thing if he would go ahead and resign," Mr. Pryor said.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, also said he thinks a resignation by Mr. Weiner would be in the best interests of his constituents and the House.

Other congressional Democrats, including Reps. Larry Kissell of North Carolina, Mike Ross of Arkansas and Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts have called on Mr. Weiner to resign.

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine a day earlier told a CBS affiliate that Mr. Weiner should step down.

"Lying is unforgivable," said Mr. Kaine, who is running for the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Webb, Virginia Democrat. "Lying publicly about something like this is unforgivable and he should resign."

Mr. Weiner, 46, admitted Monday that he lied to the public after being caught sending a sexually charged photo of himself in underwear to a Washington state college student via Twitter. He said he had made similar "dumb" online exchanges with six women, including some during his 11-month marriage to Huma Abedin, a top aide with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

On Wednesday, Mr. Weiner's office said in a statement that he sent explicit photos of himself. A spokeswoman made the statement after an X-rated photo turned up on the Internet.

The photo, which shows a man's genitals, was published by a website after conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart showed it to the hosts of Sirius XM radio's "Opie & Anthony" show. The show later said Mr. Breitbart didn't know the photo was being made public.

The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, also reported Wednesday that Ms. Abedin is pregnant.

Mr. Weiner has been making calls to colleagues to apologize for sending raunchy texts and photos to several women, the Associated Press reported.

He also reportedly apologized to former President Bill Clinton, who officiated at Mr. Weiner's wedding last July.

Mr. Weiner, who had been eyeing a 2013 run for New York City mayor, has been dormant since his tearful Monday news conference. His wife, who has been out of the country on official business with Mrs. Clinton, also hasn't spoken publicly about the scandal.

The White House continues to decline to comment on the scandal.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, on Tuesday sent a letter to the House ethics committee asking for a formal investigation to determine whether Mr. Weiner broke chamber rules.

The Senate's No. 1 Democrat on Tuesday also said he couldn't defend the New Yorker, but stopped short of asking him to resign.

"I know Congressman Weiner. I wish there were some way I could defend him, but I can't," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.

Some Republicans also haven't been shy to demand that Mr. Weiner step down.

"I don't think we need to spend taxpayer dollars investigating whether or not Anthony Weiner is a creep or not," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday on NBC's "Today" program. "The leaders of the Democratic Party ought to talk to Anthony Weiner and tell him that he needs to go."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican, also has said Mr. Weiner should step down, saying Congress was too busy with other matters to deal.

A NY1-Marist Poll survey conducted hours after Mr. Weiner admitted to sending the lewd photo on Twitter showed that 51 percent of New York City voters said Mr. Weiner shouldn't resign from Congress, with 30 percent said he should step down. Eighteen percent said they aren't sure.

With Mr. Weiner's mayoral aspirations critically damaged — if not over — actor Alec Baldwin, long thought to be considering a political career, may jump into the race.

"I wouldn't rule it out," his publicist Matthew Hiltzik said, responding to a report in the Daily online publication, which reported that the star of television's "30 Rock" believed the Weiner scandal had improved his chances to become mayor.

c This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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