Obama: If I were Anthony Weiner, "I would resign"

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., is surrounded by reporters as he arrives at his house in Queens, New York, June 9, 2011. Weiner admitted that he had Tweeted sexually charged messages and photos to at least six women and lied about it.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

President Obama said in an interview Monday that if he were Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, who has acknowledged sending lewd photographs to women over the Internet, he would resign his seat in Congress.

"Well, obviously what he did was highly inappropriate," the president told NBC News in Durham, North Carolina, according to a transcript released by the network. "I think he's embarrassed himself, he's acknowledged that, he's embarrassed his wife and his family. Ultimately there's going to be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign."

"Because public service is exactly that, it's a service to the public," Mr. Obama continued in the interview. "And 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."

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats have called on Weiner to step down, but Weiner has thus far refused to do so. He says he is currently seeking "professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person" and is on a leave of absence.

Earlier Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the situation"a distraction from important business" but stopped short of calling for Weiner's resignation.

He said Weiner's indiscretions were not Mr. Obama's top concern.

"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," said Carney.