Congressman Anthony Weiner announced his resignation from Congress on Thursday, over a series of lewd photos he sent to women online.
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"I had hoped to be able to continue the work that the citizens of my district elected me to do, to fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it," he said. "Unfortunately the distraction I have created has made that impossible, so today I am announcing my resignation from Congress so my colleagues can get back to work."
The last few weeks were an embarrassing circus for the Congressman as more and more salacious details about his personal life emerged, from purported naked photos to alleged racy chat logs, and the lawmaker was besieged by reporters. His final press conference at a senior center in Brooklyn, was no different, featuring a mix of boos and cheers as he announced his decision and a prankster from the Howard Stern show screaming questions about his sexual prowess throughout.
Weiner's decision followed an intense and highly public campaign among Democratic officials -- from the White House down -- to force his departure in the wake of the scandal. House caucus members had planned to discuss stripping of his committee assignments on Thursday before word of his resignation broke in the morning. Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), had also called on him to leave office and pressured Democrats to return his campaign donations.
Weiner had few prominent defenders by the end. President Obama told NBC that he would resign were he in Weiner's shoes. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) repeatedly demanded he step down, dismissing attempts by Weiner to buy time with a leave of absence in which to seek treatment. Members frequently expressed frustration that Weiner's ongoing scandal distracted from their policy agenda. The timing was particularly unfortunate as Democrats were finally gaining significant traction on their Medicare message, winning an upset race in New York's 26th district with a campaign focused on the issue. In an illustration of how the issue dominated coverage, several TV networks cut away from a Nancy Pelosi press conference on jobs Thursday immediately after she said she would not address Weiner's reported departure.