Pressure rises for Weiner to step down

After days of denials, a choked-up U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) confessed Monday, June 6, 2011, that he tweeted a bulging-underpants photo of himself to a young woman and admitted to "inappropriate" exchanges with six women before and after getting married. On May 27, 2011, a lewd photo of a man's groin was sent to a college student from New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter account. Weiner said on June 1 he did not send the tweet, which was visible to all of his followers, and claims it was "a prank, a hoax" and that his "system was hacked into." Photo: Weiner reacts during a news conference about the photo in New York, Monday, June 6, 2011. AP Photo/Richard Drew

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)
AP Photo/Richard Drew

Updated at 6:52 p.m.

The bricks are crumbling for Rep. Anthony Weiner.

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), the House Democrat in charge of recruiting top notch candidates to run for the House of Representatives in 2012, is the first House Democrat calling for Weiner to resign.

"Having the respect of your constituents is fundamental for a Member of Congress. In light of Anthony Weiner's offensive behavior online, he should resign," Schwartz said in a prepared statement.

And Maine Representative Michael Michaud (D-ME) is also saying it would be best for Rep. Weiner's family to step aside.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) hopped on the bandwagon later Wednesday.

But no one yet from the New York delegation.

Two days in a row, CBS News has reached out to every member of the New York congressional delegation to discuss what members want Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to do. Asking questions like should he resign? Should he fight it out? Can he survive politically? The calls to 21 members have revealed that members, and staffs, are largely wanting to stay out of it and keep their heads low for now.

One congressional aide for a member in the New York delegation did say that "momentum is building for Weiner to go, but he seems to be dug in."

Another said that members will just have to see how the ethics committee investigation plays out.

And a lot of no comments.

Rep. Weiner has been making calls to members of his delegation and leaders like Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer since admitting Monday that he engaged in inappropriate communication of a sexual nature with half a dozen women. The communications occurred over the phone and the web and included the exchange of indecent photographs of the congressman and sexual chats over Facebook that continue to leak out every day on gossip websites.

Most House Democrats, until now, have stopped short of asking for the Congressman to step down. One exception being former DNC Chair and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine who also called for his resignation today. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) reportedly had a heated exchange in a telephone call with Rep. Weiner. According to the New York Times, Velazquez asked "how can you explain that somebody can be so smart but so stupid?" When the reporter asked Velazquez if Weiner should resign she said "the most important thing in this business is credibility."

Complicating Weiner's problems is news that his wife, Huma Abedin, is pregnant.

Weiner, and members of the House, will return to Washington next week from House recess. Members of the press have been staked out at the congressman's home in Queens, New York all week. And they will surely be waiting outside Rep. Weiner's office with cameras when he returns to work next week. Members will have to walk by the media circus to get to votes, they will be asked questions that most reporters would never ask their mothers. And what Democrats really want to be talking about is the economy and Medicare- the latter issue being one that they see as a winner for them in 2012.

But as long as Weiner stays, and the expected ethics investigation drags on as ethics investigations do, the longer Democrats are out of control of the message.

And Republicans will have the issue as political weapon as long as Weiner remains in office.

Speaker John Boehner, and his staff, have declined to comment on the scandal. But Majority leader Eric Cantor called for his resignation as well as Rep. Weiner's Republican friend and colleague Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

As for the New York delegation, members and staffers since the scandal broke have largely seemed weary of controversy among their own delegation. Weiner is responsible for the third sexual scandal to rock a New York Representative in less than two years. Plus, they survived the long, drawn out ethics investigation of the Dean of the state's delegation Charlie Rangel over his taxes, finances and use of congressional resources.

The two members involved in sexual scandals were forced to step down while Rangel survived. And though Rep. Weiner insists he is staying in Congress, a single voice from his own state saying that Rep. Weiner should absolutely stay is notably absent among what should be his closest peers.

  • Jill Jackson On Twitter»

    Jill Jackson is a CBS News senior political producer.

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