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Anthony Weiner is a distraction, White House says

June 13, 2011 |  3:20 pm

Anthony WeinerAnthony Weiner, the fiery New York congressman who was literally caught with his pants down, has become a distraction, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

While answering questions aboard Air Force One before President Obama was to land in Morrisville, N.C., Carney said the Weiner matter is one that Congress should address.

One reporter asked Carney in a roundabout way whether Obama feels Weiner should resign.

"Jay, does the president have a position on whether Anthony Weiner’s continued service in the U.S. Congress is in the nation’s best interests?" the reporter asked.

"The president feels -- we feel at the White House that this is a distraction," Carney replied. "Obviously as Congressman Weiner has said himself, this is -- the behavior was inappropriate; the dishonesty was inappropriate.  But the president is focused on his job, which is getting this economy continuing to grow, creating jobs, and obviously ensuring the safety and security of the American people."

Of course, there were follow-ups to that reply.

"Did any of the president’s top aides have any role in engineering or encouraging Anthony Weiner to resign or to step aside?" Carney was asked.

"Well, I think this is an issue that the Congress has been addressing, congressional leaders have been addressing, and that Congressman Weiner has been addressing," Carney said.

"But did any of his top aides have conversations?" he was asked.

Carney replied, "Not that I’m aware of."

Finally, he was asked flat-out: "Does the president believe that Anthony Weiner should resign?"

Carney said, "Again, I think I answered that question. We think this is a distraction, obviously, from the important business that this president needs to conduct and Congress needs to conduct.  Beyond that, I don’t have any more comment."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Monday that Weiner should step down and that Democratic leaders "should do everything they can to bring him to that point, if he’s not already."


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-- Tony Pierce

 Photo: Many of Rep. Anthony Weiner's constituents seem unruffled by his online sexual antics. Maybe he's closer to the norm than we'd like to admit. Credit: Mary Altaffer, Associated Press / June 11, 2011