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Pelosi, other Democrats seek to quickly move on from Weiner affair

June 16, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli, Kathleen Hennessey and Lisa Mascaro
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

Democrats sought to swiftly turn the page on the three-week drama involving Rep. Anthony Weiner and refocus attention on other issues after the New York congressman signaled he would finally step down Thursday.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appeared Thursday at what she noted was her regularly scheduled weekly press availability -- the topic was jobs --  and said if there were questions on Weiner: "I won't be answering any."

She said she would have an additional statement after Weiner's own press conference later Thursday.

Photos: Rep. Weiner sexting scandal

When a reporter nonetheless posed a question to the caucus leader about Weiner, she said Democrats "will not be deterred from our quest for jobs."

"I wish that the order for information on our jobs initiative would be as strong as this other subject," she said.

A House aide said Democrats' hope was that putting this behind them would also allow them to refocus on Medicare, an issue that they feel they were doing damage to Republicans on when the Weiner scandal broke.

The news of Weiner's resignation was shared with his colleagues less than 24 hours after his wife, Huma Abedin, returned from a trip overseas. As a chief aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Abedin had been traveling overseas since last week. She is pregnant with the couple's first child.

Pelosi did allude to pressure from the Democratic caucus on Weiner, a seven-term representative from New York's 9th District, saying they wanted to allow him time to speak with his wife. The caucus was prepared to take further action, perhaps including stripping him of his committee assignments, had he sought to remain in office.

Weiner called Pelosi and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), head of the House Democrats' campaign committee, to share his decision Wednesday night.

Most other Democrats were unaware as the news first broke. At a Democratic caucus meeting Thursday morning on infrastructure, lawmakers were sharing the news as it came over on Blackberries.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chair of the Democratic National Committee who along with Pelosi on Saturday called on Weiner to resign, called it the "right decision."

Weiner is expected to formally announce his decision at a New York news conference at 2 p.m. EDT.

Photos: Rep. Weiner sexting scandal

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