The pressure on Rep. Anthony Weiner to quit Congress increased hugely Monday with President Obama telling NBC News' Ann Curry that if he were in the disgraced congressman place, he would resign.
The president was interviewed by NBC News' Ann Curry during a visit to Durham, N.C. which he visited to talk up the role "green" jobs could play in economic growth. NBC is scheduled to air the segment Tuesday on the "Today" show.
Here's the exchange:
ANN CURRY: Should Congressman Anthony Weiner resign?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, obviously what he did was highly inappropriate. I think he's embarrassed himself, he's acknowledged that, he's embarrassed his wife and his family. Ultimately there's going to be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign. Because public service is exactly that, it's a service to the public. And when you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can't serve as effectively as you need to at the time when people are worrying about jobs and their mortgages and paying the bills, then you should probably step back.
Because of the separation of powers among other reasons, the president obviously can't order a member of Congress to quit.
But as leader of his party, he can certainly send a strong signal. And that's exactly what Obama did Monday.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has criticized Democratic leaders for not calling for Weiner's resignation sooner. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and now Obama have now in recent days made it clear they would like to see the congressman go.
They fear his continued presence will only serve as a distraction from their efforts to focus voters on their efforts to boost economic growth and job creation.
Weiner has requested a leave of absence. But by weighing in, Obama has taken the pressure to a whole new level.