In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Ann Curry, President Barack Obama said that if he were Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner right now, he would resign in the wake of the scandal in which Weiner admitted to sending explicit photos of himself to women online.
“I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign,’’ Obama told Curry.
Weiner has been the talk of the nation since he was caught sending lewd photos of himself to various women on multiple social media platforms, prompting the head of the Democratic National Party to call for him to step down and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to demand an ethics committee investigation.
“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,’’ Obama said.
Obama added that what Weiner did was “highly inappropriate’’ and that he has “embarrassed himself” and his wife and family, but said it will ultimately come down to a decision by Weiner and his constituents as to whether he will continue in office.
While the president understands why the scandal has generated so much attention, he told Curry that it was behind joblessness, the economy and Afghanistan on his radar right now.
In the interview, which took place in Durham, North Carolina, where the president was promoting job creation at an energy-efficient lighting plant, he spoke with Curry about the upcoming battle with Republicans over increasing the debt ceiling. While House Republicans have threatened to block the move unless there are deep spending cuts, the president remains undeterred and believes progress has been made.
“I am absolutely confident that we can move forward on a plan that gets our debt under control, gets our deficit under control, but also makes sure that we're making the investments in the future that are going to help us put people back to work.’’
Obama feels that a solution is possible without massive spending cuts if both sides are willing to make some concessions.
“There is a way of solving this problem that doesn't require any big, radical changes,’’ he said. “What it does require is everybody makes some sacrifices, and we make these changes in a balanced way.
“So far, at least, in the conversations that I've had, and the vice president's been hosting with leaders from both the House and the Senate, we've seen some progress.’’