Weiner's pulling out -- for a little while, at least.
Serial-sexting Congressman Anthony Weiner headed off to rehab and will seek a leave of absence, as Nancy Pelosi and other Dems demanded he quit following his admission to sending private Twitter messages to a 17-year-old girl.
Weiner's office said the randy rep left this morning for "professional treatment," and will take a leave of absence from the House as he tries to become a better family man.
“Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” Weiner’s office said in a statement. “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."
Meanwhile, Pelosi and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz today said Weiner should resign, calling his sending explicit photos and raunchy emails to women all over the country "indefensible" and a distraction.
"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," Pelosi said in a statement released this afternoon.
Wasserman Schultz called Weiner's continued service in Congress "untenable," and added that "this sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction."
Insiders believe Weiner is gambling that a stint in rehab will delay calls for him to step down.
"I was surprised that he decided to seek treatment," said a House Democratic aide. "I’m guessing he’s hoping to put calls for resignation at bay by doing the treatment if that helps him. He’s hoping it’ll give him more time."
Today's statements were the first time party leaders called on Weiner to step down in the wake of the sexting scandal, and came only after the embattled representative admitted that he sent private Twitter messages to a Delaware teen.
Earlier this morning, Weiner denied he had any inappropriate online contact with the 17-year-old, but did not deny that he’s seeking counsel from Bill and Hillary Clinton about the scandal.
"Nothing explicit. Nothing indecent. Absolutely nothing inappropriate," the embattled Congressman said as he left his Forest Hills apartment and went about routine morning errands, fetching his shirts at the Smile Often dry cleaner on nearby Austin Street.
Cops in New Castle County, Del. yesterday questioned the high school junior about her communications with Weiner whom she met on a field trip to D.C.
The girl’s mother has said the Twitter messages weren’t obscene.
Weiner was home alone this morning. His wife, Huma Abedin, is still traveling in the Africa with her boss, the Secretary of State.
Reporters trailed the Congressman as he left his Ascan Avenue home for the dry cleaners, a stop at an ATM and a brief visit to a local real estate firm.
When asked about seeking advice from the Clintons, he’d only say, "I’m having conversations with people — friends, neighbors, members of the family.
"Look I’ve made some serious mistakes here. I have to redeem myself and I’m going to try to get back to work. These were personal failings and I’m trying not to let it get into my professional work," he said.
The Congressman maintained he’s not going to resign over the sex scandal.
"I have no news today," he said. "Nothing has changed."
He shook hands as he walked along Austin Street, the main shopping drag in Forest Hills.
"You’re a great man," one woman told him. "I support you. We all support you -- Forest Hills. All New York is going to make sure you are the next mayor.