Weiner requests temporary leave of absence

U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., wipes his eye during a news conference in New York, Monday, June 6, 2011. After days of denials, the choked-up Congressman confessed to "inappropriate" online exchanges with six women before and after getting married.
AP Photo/Richard Drew

Last Updated 3:38 p.m. ET

Rep. Anthony Weiner, embroiled in controversy since he admitted engaging in illicit online relationships with women before and during his marriage, is requesting a temporary of leave of absence from the House as he seeks "professional treatment.

The news came after several top Democrats called on the New York Democrat today to resign.

"Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person," a spokesperson said Saturday. "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. Congressman Weiner takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision possible for himself, his family and his constituents."

CBS News Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reports that there has been a concerted effort by party leaders to try to get Weiner to resign. A senior Democratic aide told CBS News that they held off on putting out public statements in the hope he would step down without their public urging.

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This morning Weiner informed Democratic leaders of his intention to seek treatment, indicating his unwillingness to resign (and thus squelch the Twitter scandal that first erupted two weeks ago). Consequently, top Democrats in the House put out statements calling for his resignation.

Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement saying, "Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help. I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress."

Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., also said in a statement, "This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House.

"The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible, and Representative Weiner's continued service in Congress is untenable," Wasserman Schultz said.

Saying she made the request for his resignation "with great disappointment," Wasserman Schultz said, "For the good of all, he should step aside and address those things that should be most important - his and his family's well-being."

Also joining the chorus was Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

"Anthony's inappropriate behavior has become an insurmountable distraction to the House and our work for the American people. With a heavy heart, I call on Anthony to resign," said Israel, who also represents New York.

"I pray for his family and hope that Anthony will take time to get the help he needs without the distractions and added pressures of Washington, D.C."