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Posted at 12:36 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Hoyer: 'Premature' to speculate whether Rep. David Wu should resign

By Felicia Sonmez

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that it is "not appropriate at this time" to discuss whether Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) should resign in the wake of a stream of reports detailing the seven-term congressman's erratic behavior in the run-up to the November midterms.

"Discussion of resignation is premature," Hoyer told reporters at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing. "It's my understanding that he has said he is seeking mental health services, and that's the appropriate step for him to take. If he had a broken arm, he'd get it fixed. I believe that mental illness and physical illness both are treatable, and we ought to treat them both as illnesses."

Hoyer added that he has not talked with Wu or his staff, although he has asked his deputy chief of staff to determine that if the congressman "needs help, we need to try to make sure he gets help."

Wu has faced calls from several Oregon newspapers to resign following reports that his longtime staffers confronted him about his odd behavior and sought to admit him to a hospital just before the 2010 midterms; six of his senior staffers have resigned since November.

Last week, Wu acknowledged in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" that he had sent "inappropriate" e-mails to staffers, including one that showed him wearing a tiger costume on Halloween.

Wu has also acknowledged that he accepted prescription drugs from a donor late last year and had been hospitalized after his 2008 campaign for symptoms that arose due to mental health drugs he had been taking at the time, including Ambien and a generic form of Valium.

Wu said late last week that he is not resigning. "There aren't any circumstances that I can imagine where I'm going to resign," he said. "The people of Oregon have selected me to do a job and I'm going to do it."

By Felicia Sonmez  | March 1, 2011; 12:36 PM ET
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