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Amid calls to resign, Anthony Weiner says he will seek professional help

Facing the most intense calls yet for his resignation, Rep. Anthony Weiner said Saturday that he will seek professional help in the wake of a still-raging scandal over his online sexual liaisons with at least six women.

After House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats declared that the New York Democrat should quit, Weiner’s office instead said that he will take a leave of absence to seek treatment.

“Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” said a spokeswoman for Weiner. “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.”

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Weiner’s decision to pursue help comes amid reports that police in Delaware were investigating his online contact relationship with a 17-year-old girl. Weiner’s office said Friday that there had been no inappropriate communication between the two.

Along with Pelosi, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chair of the Democratic National Committee, and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, called on Weiner to quit -- as sign that the party is prepared to cut its ties with thecongressman, who just weeks ago was viewed as a rising star and liberal champion.

Earlier in the week, Weiner sounded more ambivalent about seeking treatment.

“I have not -- you know, I’m going to try to handle this, and I haven’t ruled out perhaps seeing someone,” the congressman said Monday. “But I’m not blaming anyone. This is not something that can be treated away; this is my own personal mistake. This is not something -- this is a weakness, a deep weakness, that I have demonstrated, and for that I apologize.”

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