UPDATE: President Obama on Monday said that if he were in Rep. Anthony Weiner's situation, he'd resign from Congress.
“I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign,’’ the president told NBC News, addressing Weiner's Twitter scandal for the first time directly. “When you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can't serve as effectively as you need to, at the time when people are worrying about jobs, and their mortgages, and paying the bills—then you should probably step back.’’
Obama called Weiner's actions “highly inappropriate’’ and said that he has “embarrassed himself” and his family. Still, the president stopped short of specifically calling for the New York Democrat to resign, saying that decision rests with Weiner and his constituents.
Original post at 2:32 p.m.: The White House on Monday weighed in for the first time on Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Twitter scandal, calling the New York Democrat’s online activities and subsequent attempt to hide them inappropriate but stopping short of calling for his resignation.
“The president feels, we feel at the White House, this is a distraction, as Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate; dishonesty was inappropriate,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to North Carolina. "But the president is focused on his job, which is getting this economy continuing to grow, creating jobs and ensuring the safety and security of the American people."
Asked point-blank whether Weiner should resign in a follow-up question, Carney responded: "I answered that question. We think it's a distraction from the important business that this president needs to conduct and Congress need to conduct. Beyond that, I don't have any more comment."
Weiner has so far brushed off calls from his Democratic colleagues to step down, appearing steadfast in his decision to try to weather the political storm created by an increasingly long list of embarrassing public disclosures about his intimate, online relationships with women who were not his wife.
His office did, however, announce Saturday that Weiner is “seeking professional treatment” and a 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.”