WASHINGTON — 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.
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.
Other political news of note
CBO: Immigration bill would decrease deficit by $197 billion over 10 years
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the immigration bill currently being debated in the Senate would increase the U.S. population by 10.4 million and would decrease federal budget deficits by $197 billion between 2014 and 2023.
- House passes ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy
- Biden: White House has not 'given up' on gun control
- Boehner: No immigration bill without GOP majority support
- For Obama, G-8 summit a mixed bag
- CBO: Immigration bill would decrease deficit by $197 billion over 10 years
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.