June 8, 2011

Michaud: NY Rep. Weiner should step down

By Tom Bell tbell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Controversy surrounding the behavior of Congressman Anthony Weiner has become such a distraction that the New York Democrat should probably resign, Maine Congressman Mike Michaud said today.

Moreover, stepping down would probably be the best thing that Weiner could do for his family right now, said Michaud, a Democrat who represents Maine's vast 2nd congressional district

"I am hoping that the congressman will do what's right for his family, and probably the best decision would be to step down," Michaud said during a tour of the State House.

He said the media attention on Weiner has become a distraction for Congress as it tries to tackle difficult issues, such as raising the debt ceiling.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, has called for an ethics investigation of Weiner, who on Monday confessed that he sent lewd photos of himself to women, had inappropriate online relationships and had lied about them.

While Democrats in Congress are distancing themselves from Weiner, Michaud is one of the few who have suggested he resign. Among them is Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., who said in a statement today that Weiner's behavior was offensive, and that having the respect of constituents is fundamental for a member of Congress.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, today complained that Democratic leaders were too slow in calling for Weiner's resignation.

Michaud, a former mill worker, grew up in a large, Catholic family in Medway. While he's a big supporter of the labor movement, he votes with conservatives on social issues, such as abortion rights and gun control.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, said in a statement that voters of Weiner's congressional district should be the ones to decide if he is fit to serve as their representative.

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