Image: Anthony Weiner
David Karp  /  AP
Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., carries his laundry to a laundromat near his home in the Queens borough of New York, Saturday, June 11, 2011. Democrats hope the 46-year-old congressman will resign from the House in the coming days.
updated 6/14/2011 4:55:42 PM ET 2011-06-14T20:55:42

House Democrats are counting on growing pressure from Rep. Anthony Weiner's colleagues, a suggestion from the president and the return of Weiner's pregnant wife from an overseas trip to persuade him to resign over a sexting scandal in which he sent lewd photos of himself and messages to several women.

The House's top Republican, Speaker John Boehner, joined the chorus of Democrats calling for the New York Democrat to quit. House Democrats went behind closed doors for their regular party meeting, but they decided against taking action against Weiner in hopes that he'll resign soon.

Pelosi reiterates push for Weiner's resignation; Boehner adds to calls

A fellow member of Weiner's New York Democratic delegation, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, said before the 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 had much to say about the seven-term congressman. Schumer, Weiner's political mentor, gave Weiner his first job on Capitol Hill when Schumer was a congressman.

Video: Obama on the economy (and Weiner) (on this page)

Asked Tuesday about whether he would support whatever Weiner's 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.

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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.

Video: Weiner scandal a big loss for progressives (on this page)

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 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Obama on the economy (and Weiner)

  1. Closed captioning of: Obama on the economy (and Weiner)

    >>> but let's begin with our exclusive interview with president barack obama . we spoke to him in north carolina on monday. we begin with the president's take on congressman anthony weiner 's scandal.

    >> well, obviously what he did was 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 because public service is exactly that, it's a service to the public. and when you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can't serve as effectively as you need to, at a time when people are worrying about jobs and their mortgages and paying the bills, then you should probably step back. you know, ultimately this job is not about us, it's not about our ambitions, it's not about our positions, it's about how well are we serving the people who sent us to washington. again, ultimately there's going to be a decision that he and his constituents make, but i know that, for me, if i didn't think i could do the job as well as i need to, that it would be time for me to go.

    >> you know the head of the dnc has called for his resignation. did she speak to you as head of the democratic party ?

    >> she didn't speak to me directly. and frankly, i understand why this has generated a lot of attention, and i don't want to minimize how inappropriate the congressman's behavior was. but i've got a lot of other stuff to do, and so on my list of things that consume me on a day-to-day basis, jobs, the economy, afghanistan, this is not something probably that i would have spent a lot of time on or will be spending a lot of time on.

    >> the president of the united states .

    >> that's me.

    >> you're here encouraging private sector hiring. this just after "the new york times" just passed this past friday reported that since the recovery began, businesses have spent just 2% more on hiring people, while at the same time spending 26% more on equipment. so why at a time when corporate america is enjoying record profits have you been unable to convince businesses to hire more people, mr. president?

    >> i don't think it's a matter of me being unable to convince them to hire more people. they're making decisions based on what they think will be good for their companies. a couple of things happened. look, we went through the worse crisis since the great depression. we are now in a process where the economy is growing again and we created 2 million jobs over the last 15 months. but it's not as fast as it needs to be to make up for all the jobs that were lost. the other thing that happened, though, and this goes to the point you were just making, is there are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. you see it when you go to a bank and you use an atm, you don't go to a bank teller , or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate. so all these things have creakrecreated changes in the economy and this counsel is identifying where the jobs of the future are going to be, how do we make sure there's a match between what people are getting trained for and the jobs that exist, how do we make sure that capital is flowing into those places with the greatest opportunity. we are on the right track. the key is figuring out how do we accelerate it.

    >> that said, you know that with 14 million americans unemployed, and another 8 1/2 unable to get full-time work, that there is a lot of human suffering attached to this. we're talking about bankruptcies, homelessness, hunger. the stress of this, the shame of this. people have started to wonder, because you speak so calmly about this, whether you really truly empathize with these people who have lost their jobs, who are suffering, and people are asking, you know, why are you not angrier, why are you not angrier about what is happening here.

    >> ann , ann , you know, first of all, i don't think people are asking that. people some in the press might be asking that. i think ordinary folks understand, i spend all my time thinking about this stuff because i'm talking to these folks every single day. i wake up every morning thinking about how can i help that man in north carolina or that woman in indiana or that family in pennsylvania get back on their feet, because they write me letters and they say, mr. president, we're about to lose our house, can you help us. mr. president, i worked here for 30 years, right before retirement i got laid off, what do i do now? i have to write back to them. and when i see them at meetings and they start crying, the notion somehow that i'm calm about that is nonsense. but what is true is that, as president, my job is to make sure that i am finding every good idea that we can to move the country forward. what you saw today, you know, our investments in clean energy , making sure that we're dealing with community colleges so that they are more effectively training our workers for jobs, making sure that the economy as a whole is not burdened by regulations that are outdated or don't make sense, making sure that we continue the kinds of tax cuts for small businesses and that we're also providing financing for those small businesses . those are the things ultimately on which i'm going to be judged.

    >> it used to be that when there was corporate growth, jobs would follow. that has not happened this time. and so there's a lot of concern that maybe what's happening is something that's kind of intrinsic, something that's going to be part of the future. and so it's sort of begs the question, in hindsight, did you miss an opportunity by focusing on health care in not focusing enough on job creation last year?

    >> well, you know, i have to tell you, ann , everything i thought about over the first two years was how do we get the economy back on track. that's what we focused on then, that's what we focus on now. but health care is part of our challenge because if companies are spending billions of dollars on rising health care costs, that's money that they're not putting in to hiring the workers or new plants or equipment. talk to any of these businesses, large or small, and they will tell you, as a consequence of their health care costs going up 25%, 50%, or in some cases 100%, that has a dampening i pact on their ability to invest and create jobs.

    >> house republicans are threatening to not allow the debt ceiling to be raised. if you don't agree to deep spending cuts, do you think they're bluffing, given how financially disastrous it would be for the united states to not have the debt ceiling raised, and are you willing to make deep spending cuts?

    >> keep in mind we've already made deep spending cuts. i've proposed a freeze on federal spending, during the last threatened government shutdown we made some really tough cuts on programs that i actually think make a big difference. but given the size of the deficit, i think it was important for us to send a signal that we were serious about getting spending under control. i am absolutely confident that we can move forward on a plan that gets our debt under control, gets our deficit under control, but also makes sure that we're making the investments in the future that are going to help us put people back to work. and the debate that's going to be taking place between me and republican members of congress is not whether or not we are dealing with our deficit in an effective way, there's a way of solving this problem that doesn't require any great changes. what it does require is everybody makes some sacrifices and we make these changes in a balanced way. so far at least in the conversations that i've had and the vice president's been hosting with leaders from both the house and the senate, we've seen some progress. i think that where it's going to get tough is right now republicans are very resistant to any kind of revenue and would rather see us make some sacrifices in programs that the vast majority of the american people think are really important. making sure that seniors on medicare have the kind of security and protection that they need, for example, or making sure that, you know, government functions like food safety or weather satellites are still up there, making sure that our veterans are properly cared for. you can't pay for those things unless we have some additional revenue. and that's going to be a tough debate that takes place. but i take the republican leadership at their word when they say it would be disastrous for us to not increase the debt limit. i do not want to see the united states default on our obligations. the full faith and credit of the united states is the underpinning not only of our way of life but it's also the underpinning of the global financial system . and we could actually have a re reprise of a financial and we're going to get it done in a sensible way. that's what the america people expect.


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