While a few of Anthony Weiner's fellow Democrats in Congress have said publicly that the disgraced New York congressman should resign, his standing in his own party is even worse in private, a Democratic strategist says.
"Right now," Robert Zimmerman told "Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge Thursday, "most Democratic members of Congress I speak to would sooner stand next to Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican who authored the end of Medicare, than stand with Anthony Weiner."
Weiner, 46, has steadfastly refused to quit, despite admitting Monday that he'd tweeted sexually-charged photos and messages to six women he didn't know, then lied about it to his wife, family and constituents. Now, an X-rated photo that Weiner purportedly took of himself has turned up on the Internet, and his wife of less than a year, Huma Abedin, 35, is pregnant.
She married Weiner in a ceremony officiated by former President Bill Clinton, is a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, and is currently on an overseas trip with the secretary of state.
Zimmerman pointed out that, for all Weiner's gone through this week alone, the going promises to get even tougher for him.
"Remember," he said, "when Congress reconvenes next week, Congressman Weiner has to address the issue of the (House) Ethics Committee holding investigations, subpoenaing all of his laptops and computer files, to see if he was in any way dialoguing or having Internet relations with people, and the ages of those people. Did he use government facilities in this process? If any of that's true, game over. He's going to have to deal with the pressure of his colleagues when they come back into session, as well."
Zimmerman says he's among those who feel Weiner should give up his office.
"Look," Zimmerman noted, "the reality is, he has been a great champion for many important causes. For instance, health care reform, tax reform. And he truly has to make a determination as to what's best for his issues he believes in, what's best for the Democratic message and his colleagues, and his own future.
"Personally, I think it's time for him to step down. I think it may be the best way for him to help build his future. He can be a very effective public policy advocate and not be in Congress."
"Huma Abedin,' Zimmerman added, "is a role model as a public servant. She's one of the most respected people, really beloved in Washington by people who work with her from both parties. I admire her and I regard her as a friend. I have the highest regard for her.
"Her pregnancy and her life are not at issue here, and really should be off the table. Anthony obviously has got to think about his family. I truly believe he loves his wife very much. He's gotta make that his focus. Unless he wants to run for governor of California, and with that state's track record, maybe he's got a future, but otherwise, he's really gotta focus on, in my opinion, what's best for the issues he believes in, (what's) best for his family, and I think that's best-served by pursuing public policy initiatives and not serving in Congress."