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Abandoned by party leaders, how long can Anthony Weiner hang on?

In a major blow to Rep. Anthony Weiner’s attempt to hold onto his job in the wake of a “sexting” scandal, three top Democratic leaders Saturday told the embattled New York congressman that he has to go.

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That the Obama administration had become involved put additional pressure on Weiner.

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The New York congressman’s reputation for brashness, verbal pugnaciousness, and – critics said – a self-centeredness beyond what is considered normal for elected lawmakers won him few friends on Capitol Hill, Democrat or Republican. The only one who had come to his defense was Rep. Charles Rangel, himself recently censured for ethics violations.

Two polls earlier this week showed that large minorities of Weiner’s constituents in the Brooklyn and Queens district he served thought he should step down.

For their part, Republicans mostly left it to Democrats to ratchet up the pressure on Weiner.

Some, including House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia, had called for Weiner’s resignation days ago – ignoring the fact that they had not done so when such Republicans as Sens. David Vitter and John Ensign were caught up in sex scandals alleged to have involved illegal activity.

Regarding the latest revelation involving the high school girl, the New Castle County, Del., Police Department issued a statement on Saturday saying: "Detectives have conducted an interview with the teen and she has made no disclosure of criminal activity nor inappropriate contact by the Congressman."

But that news apparently did not end the perception among Democrats that the accumulated revelations – plus Weiner’s initially having lied about them, as well as the possibility that there could be more – was more than they could take.

For the moment, however, Weiner is hanging on.

In a statement to Saturday Weiner said he will not resign from Congress and will instead head to rehabilitation to seek "professional treatment.”

"Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” Weiner’s office said in the 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,” the statement said. “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."

IN PICTURES: Ethically challenged congressmen


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