By Justin Sink
White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted Wednesday that it was President Obama's job to focus on the economy and not brewing municipal scandals as he fielded multiple questions about sexually improper behavior by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.
The White House spokesman insisted that Obama was not obligated to comment, despite having spoken out previously about the issue of sexual harassment in the military. Eight women have come forward to accuse Filner, a former U.S. congressman, of sexual misconduct in the workplace.
"No," Carney said. "The president is focused on what we can do for the middle class in this country."
He reiterated that point when asked by a reporter whether he should say something about the "political circus" in New York that has captured the world's attention. Former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who resigned Congress in 2011 after it was revealed he sent sexually explicit texts and pictures to multiple women, admitted last week that he had continued to do so through last summer.
"No, we don't," Carney said, reiterating that the president's focus was the middle class.
"We just have no comment on it," Carney said. "There's plenty of coverage, plenty of stuff to cover without us commenting."
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski accused the White House of hypocrisy in declining to comment.
"After spending months waging a fake 'War on Women' to mislead voters, it appears the Democrats have much less 'courage' when it comes to calling out their own," she said in an email.
Other prominent Democrats have weighed in on the controversies, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) both calling on Filner to resign.
The president did weigh in on the Weiner controversy in 2011, calling his messages then "highly inappropriate."
"I think he's embarrassed himself, he's acknowledged that, he's embarrassed his wife and his family," Obama told NBC News. "Ultimately there's going to be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign. Because public service is exactly that, it's a service to the public. And 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."
--This report was originally published at 2:34 p.m. and last updated at 3:35 p.m.