The Washington Times - June 13, 2011, 12:11PM

The Obama administration broke its silence Monday regarding embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner, calling the New York Democrat a “distraction” but stopping short of calling for his resignation.

“The president feels, we feel at the White House, this is a distraction,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney while talking with reporters aboard Air Force One, according to a media pool report. “As Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate, dishonesty was inappropriate.


“But the president is focused on his job, which is getting this economy continuing to grow, creating jobs and ensuring the safety and security of the American people,” Mr. Carney said.

Mr. Carney said he wasn’t aware of any top administration aides who have pressed Mr. Weiner to step down.

When asked directly if the New York lawmaker should quit, Mr. Carney responded that “I answered that question.”

“We think it’s a distraction from the important business that this president needs to conduct and Congress need to conduct,” the spokesman said. “Beyond that I don’t have any more comment.”

The 46-year-old Mr. Weiner, who has been married less than a year, has admitted to sending lewd photos and exchanging sexually charged messages on the Internet with about six women, and acknowledged that he initially lied in public to cover his tracks.

In a statement issued over the weekend, he said he will seek “professional help” and will ask for a leave of absence.