wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost

Pressure ramps up on Anthony Weiner to resign

at 03:15 PM ET, 06/08/2011


New York Rep. Anthony Weiner is trying to weather an online sex scandal. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Pressure has begun to build within Democratic circles for Rep. Anthony Weiner to step aside although the embattled New York Democrat remains resolute that he is staying in office.

The behind-the-scenes heat comes as the New York Times reports that Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, 35, is pregnant with the couple’s first child. The Times reported late Wednesday that Abedin, a senior State Department aide who is very close to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, was in the early stages of pregnancy when the Weiner scandal broke. Abedin left Wednesday for a trip with Clinton to North Africa . A person close to the Clinton family confirmed the development to The Post.

Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz said Wednesday that “having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a Member of Congress,” adding: “In light of Anthony Weiner’s offensive behavior online, he should resign.”

Such a strong statement by Schwartz, who handles recrutiment as well as member services for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is widely regarded as a sign that the party leadership has decided it’s time for Weiner to leave the House.

Schwartz joins Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor and Maine Rep. Mike Michaud as well as former Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine in calling on Weiner to step aside.

Weiner, according those close to him, remains insistent that he has broken no laws and has no plans to leave the House. It remains to be seen whether Schwartz’s statement will open a floodgate of public condemnation that will alter Weiner’s political calculus.

Democratic leaders have largely stayed silent about Weiner’s political fate since he revealed in a press conference on Monday that he had lied about sending a lewd image via Twitter to a college student in Seattle.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) as well as DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) called for the House ethics committee to investigate the matter.

But, the steady stream of new news about Weiner and his online liaisons has made the situation increasingly untenable for a party trying to reclaim control of the House majority in 2012. Weiner is also a rapidly emerging target for Empire State redistricters who must shrink the congressional delegation by two members before next November.

The problem for Democrats is that Weiner has shown little inclination to step aside and, barring a full House vote to expel him, likely could hang on to his seat at least until the election next year.

Such a drawn-out ordeal is a nightmare for Democratic strategists who would like the Weiner story out of the news as soon as possible.

Paul Kane contributed to this report.

 
Read what others are saying