Weiner goes to rehab amid calls for his resignation

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D – N.Y., is taking a short leave of absence from Congress to attend an undisclosed rehab program, the New York Post reported today.

The embattled Weiner headed out of town as Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders called on him to resign following his admission to sending private Twitter messages to a 17-year-old girl. The girl’s mother has said there was nothing inappropriate in Weiner’s messages but police are investigating the situation.

In a press conference last week, Weiner admitted to “inappropriate” communications, including sending a photo of his crotch to an admirer. An alleged picture of his erect penis, which was e-mailed to a conservative blogger, was released on the Internet on June 8.

Although a June 8 Marist poll showed 56 percent of voters in his district want Weiner to remain in office, daily revelations about his behavior could erode his ability to perform his job effectively and destroy his political future.

Pelosi and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz today said Weiner’s sending of sexually explicit photos and raunchy e-mails to women all over the country was “indefensible” and a distraction.

“Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents, and the recognition that he needs help,” Pelosi said in a statement. “I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a Member of Congress.”

A Weiner spokesperson issued a statement saying the congressman is seeking professional treatment “to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person.

“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,” the statement said. “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.”