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Weiner Enters Treatment; Leaders Call for Resignation

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, former chairman of the DCCC, are among Democrats calling for Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign.

Updated: 7:28 p.m.

Top Democratic leaders issued a coordinated call for Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to resign on Saturday, as the embattled Congressman entered treatment and asked for a leave of absence from the House.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) called on Weiner to step down in press releases issued almost simultaneously Saturday afternoon.

According to a Democratic official, Weiner informed party leaders he would seek treatment, which precipitated the decision to publicly call for his resignation.

A statement from Weiner spokeswoman Risa Heller made no mention of resignation. She said he "takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision" for everyone.

"Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person," Heller said. "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."

But Democratic leaders sought to make clear with their unified call that anything less than Weiner's resignation would not be acceptable.

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

“Anthony’s inappropriate behavior has become an insurmountable distraction to the House and our work for the American people," Israel said. "With a heavy heart, I call on Anthony to resign."

Former chairman of the DCCC, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) put it this way: "Repeated violation of the public trust is unacceptable."

But Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (S.C.) was unwilling to call for Weiner to step down. "I stand by my comments from last week that the full Caucus should address this issue when we meet next week," he said in a statement late Saturday afternoon.

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) Saturday lamented his longtime friend's situation, but stopped well short of calling for him Weiner to resign.

"I am heartbroken. For those of us who are longtime friends of Anthony Weiner his wrongful behavior is distressing and saddening. It's clear he needs professional help and I am glad he is seeking it," Schumer said in a statement.

Schumer, the dean of the New York Congressional delegation, has been careful to stay above the fray in the scandal, which has engulfed his former aide.

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