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GOP chairman demands Weiner resign

By Andrew Miga

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, June 7 2011 9:53 a.m. MDT

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Republican party says Rep. Anthony Weiner should resign after admitting he sent a lewd photo of himself on Twitter to a woman and then lied about it repeatedly.

Reince Priebus says in a statement that either House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz believe that members of Congress are held to a different standard, or they believe the congressman's actions demand his departure from the House.

The Democratic National Committee did not have an immediate comment.

The National Republican Congressional Committee also seized on the Weiner scandal as a 2012 campaign issue, issuing press releases calling on more than a dozen House Democrats to return campaign contributions from Weiner.

Weiner vowed on Monday he would not resign his seat, and apologized repeatedly at a news conference for his actions.

Pelosi issued a statement afterwards calling for the House ethics committee to investigate.

Weiner faces a cool reception from even some of his closest allies in Congress as he clings to a once-promising political career.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other members of the Democratic leadership voiced their disappointment in Weiner and pointedly urged the House ethics committee to launch an investigation to determine if the outspoken New York Democrat broke House rules. Their calls came shortly after the married Weiner's profuse public apology for "inappropriate" online exchanges with six women.

Pelosi pronounced herself "deeply disappointed and saddened."

The second-ranking House Democrat, Maryland's Steny Hoyer, called for Weiner to make full disclosure.

The cool but so-far not fatal reception from his House colleagues contrasted sharply with the fate that befell fellow New York Rep. Christopher Lee, who sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist. Within a matter of hours of the photo being disclosed, the Republican met with House Speaker John Boehner and resigned.

House Republicans have stated there would be zero tolerance for misbehavior by members in their ranks. And even if Weiner did nothing illegal, House ethics rules state that members must comport themselves in a manner befitting their office, enough to trigger an investigation into Weiner's online social life.

And House Democrats weren't exactly circling around him in support.

One of Weiner's New York colleagues, Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said it would rest with the voters of Weiner's district, which covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens, to determine the seven-term congressman's fate.

"Congressman Anthony Weiner engaged in a deep personal failure and inappropriate behavior that embarrassed himself, his family and the House," Israel said. "Ultimately, Anthony and his constituents will make a judgment about his future."

New York's senior senator, Chuck Schumer, said in a statement that he was "deeply pained and saddened by today's news. By fully explaining himself, apologizing to all he hurt and taking full responsibility for his wrongful actions, Anthony did the right thing. He remains a talented and committed public servant, and I pray he and his family can get through these difficult times."

Weiner on Monday admitted sending a lewd photo of his underwear-clad crotch to a young woman over Twitter and then lying repeatedly to protect himself.

The extraordinary confession at a packed Manhattan news conference was a remarkable turn of events for the brash Weiner, who conceded to a "hugely regrettable" lapse in judgment.

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