Obama on Weiner: 'If it was me, I would resign'

President Obama broke his silence on the sex scandal of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) Monday, saying he would resign from office if he were in the lawmaker’s shoes.

“I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign,’’ Obama said in an interview with NBC’s “Today.”

“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’s statement came after a number of leading Democrats — including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), head of the Democratic National Committee — urged Weiner to step aside.

"Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents and the recognition that he needs help,” Pelosi said Saturday in a brief statement. "I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a member of Congress.”

The White House had declined to call for Weiner’s resignation earlier Monday but did rebuke his behavior.

"As Congressman Weiner has said himself, his behavior was inappropriate; dishonesty was inappropriate," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. "But the president is focused on his job, which is getting this economy continuing to grow, creating jobs and ensuring the safety and security of the American people."

"We think it's a distraction from the important business that this president needs to conduct and Congress need to conduct," Carney said.

Weiner has yet to heed the calls for his resignation, instead requesting a leave of absence from Congress to enter treatment.

With Weiner still in their caucus, House Democrats returned to Washington on Monday scrambling for ways to change the subject.

Party leaders think they have winning issues in the Republicans' proposals to change Medicare and Social Security. But the lewd Weiner pictures that have surfaced on the Internet — combined with the lawmaker’s refusal to resign — have made it difficult for that messaging to break through.

Against that backdrop, House Democrats will huddle Tuesday morning for their weekly caucus meeting, which promises to be more animated than usual as leaders look to minimize the political fallout and prevent Weiner's personal crisis from becoming the party's campaign liability.

But not everyone is on board with the calls for Weiner to quit.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the assistant Democratic leader, said Weiner's fate is an issue to be decided by the full caucus; Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraState officials press Sessions on tech privacy worries Top California regulator: Emissions rule change 'blows a hole' in air pollution standards Industry wins big in methane rules rollback MORE (Calif.), the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is waiting to base his decision on the verdict of the Ethics Committee investigation Democratic leaders have requested; and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) — the former Ways and Means Committee chairman who has his own experience with political scandal — noted there's no evidence so far that Weiner broke any laws or House rules with his virtual trysts.

"Not one person has given any reason for a resignation," Rangel told the New York Daily News. "The whole idea of resignation is something that's hyped up by the press more than his ability to serve."

Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorDave Brat trailing in reelection bid Fake political signs target Democrat in Virginia Hillicon Valley: GOP leader wants Twitter CEO to testify on bias claims | Sinclair beefs up lobbying during merger fight | Facebook users experience brief outage | South Korea eyes new taxes on tech MORE (R-Va.) offered Democratic leaders some advice on Monday, suggesting they strip Weiner of his seat on the Energy and Commerce panel — his only committee assignment in the 112th Congress.

"I’m hoping that they will begin to move, if he does not resign, toward things like stripping him of his committees,” Cantor told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing. “I don’t think that we have time for this. We obviously have a lot of other issues to be concerned with.”

Democrats have taken that route with other scandal-plagued members in recent years, including Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who was removed from his Ways and Means post after being indicted on the bribery charges that would ultimately lead to a 13-year prison sentence.

Other Democrats are frustrated that Weiner's behavior has stolen the spotlight from issues like the plummeting housing market and the nation's employment crisis.

"Whatever happens to Anthony Weiner isn't going to help my constituents get jobs," Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Monday. "I'm not going to be distracted [by the scandal]."

Sam Youngman contributed.