Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) continued his apology tour Monday, telling voters in his district that he's fit to continue serving in Congress and reassuring Oregon Democrats that he can win reelection in 2012.
In one of two Monday appearances, Wu spoke before a group of Washington County Democrats, offering an explanation for one of the more bizarre incidents that occurred ahead of last November's election, which led several staffers to quit.
Over objections from staffers, Wu attended a Halloween party in a tiger costume, a photo of which ended up online. He later sent e-mails to staffers from his congressional account that purported to be from his children.
Asked about the costume Monday, Wu said it was originally part of a family costume theme, according to the Forest Grove News-Times.
"The original plan for the tiger costume was a tiger family," Wu said, according to the paper. "I was going to be papa tiger and they were going to be cub tigers."
But, Wu said, after he was unable to find a tiger costume that was appropriate for his 11-year-old daughter, they nixed that idea and he decided to appear at the party in the tiger costume anyway.
It was one of two appearances for Wu back in his district Monday. At both, he rejected public calls to resign and apologized for the behavior that led many of his staffers to flee his office and campaign.
At an earlier appearance, Wu vowed to "turn this story around," expressing regret that he "let this story become about me, and not about you and the challenges you face every day."
Despite the Democratic tilt of the district, several Republicans are weighing a challenge next year given the revelations about Wu's behavior. Republican Rob Cornilles, who challenged Wu last cycle, is thinking about another run, as is a Republican state senator.
The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Pete Sessions (Texas), recently told The Ballot Box that Wu's decision to remain in office has created a "very competitive circumstance."