The Washington Post

The backstory on Weiner’s implosion

So the Democratic leadership has called on Anthony Weiner to resign, in the wake of news that he had connected with a 17 year old girl through social media. The family has claimed that nothing was untoward, but suddenly, a fusillade of statements came from Dem leaders today demanding he resign.

Here’s what happened, according to a senior Democratic aide. Nancy Pelosi had been privately urging Weiner to resign and seek treatment for days, the aide says. But he told her today that he would take a temporary leave of absence and seek treatment. Once she heard that, she released a statement calling on him to resign.

“Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help,” Pelosi’s statement said. “I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress.”

Similar statements came out today fromChris Van Hollen and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

My understanding is that Pelosi and other Dem leaders were angry with Weiner because he lied to them, publicly and privately. After the news of the first Tweet broke, he privately assured Dem leaders that he had been hacked and that there was nothing to the story, I’m told.

That put Pelosi in a tough spot. When she was asked to comment on the story, she said: “I am a late comer to the issue. But I am sure I have confidence in Anthony Weiner that if an investigation is in order, that will take place.” When the truth came out, Dem leaders felt personally betrayed.

Also: Dem leaders were beside themselves over the fact that Weinergate seemed to be completely taking the steam out of their momentum on Medicare. On Thursday the Post released some polling that seemed to show that Republicans are decisively losing the argument over the program. Yet the only topic of discussion in the media was Weiner’s weiner. Fair or not, this intensified the desire among Dem leaders for Weinergate — i.e., Weiner — to go away.

UPDATE: From Weiner’s statement today:

Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person. In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.
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