With Rep. Anthony Weiner facing intensifying pressure to step down as new photos and revelations about his correspondence with a 17 year old surfaced, reports indicate that the Congressman is moving closer to resigning.
Over the weekend, the website TMZ.com released self-portraits of a sometimes nude Weiner flexing and posing in a Congressional gym, a setting that raises questions about the overlap between Weiner's salacious behavior and his public duties. Party leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-NY) and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) have called publicly for Weiner to resign, and top House Budget Committe Democrat Chris Van Hollen said that Weiner can best advance the issues he fought for by resigning immediately.
An anonymous source told the New York Daily News that Weiner's determination to hold onto his seat is beginning to crack. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who Weiner has anointed as his mentor, has stopped short of telling Weiner to quit, and the source told the Daily News that this implicit support is crucial in Weiner's decision.
Weiner is seeking a leave of absence so that he can enter treatment, though it is unclear what he would be treated for -- a release from his office simply stated that he would take time to get healthy. That could be a welcome development for Democrats who are becoming increasingly frustrated that the scandal is diminishing their ability to take on substantive policy issues, although Pelosi said that she was aware of Weiner's intention to seek treatment when she urged him to resign.
This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents, and the House, Wasserman Schultz said in her statement calling for Weiner's resignation.
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A Wall Street Journal story posits that Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, may be encouraging him to defend his seat. Abedin is an aide to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who no doubt had some words of advice about the infidelity of politician husbands.