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Pressure mounts on 'kissing congressman' to resign

A growing number of Republicans are calling on the so-called “kissing congressman” to step down.
In a photo taken Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, the then newly-elected Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) waits to be sworn in at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
In a photo taken Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, the then newly-elected Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) waits to be sworn in at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

GOP Rep. Vance McAllister is skating on thin ice. Three days after a video leaked of the married Louisiana congressman kissing a woman on his staff, prominent Republicans are asking for his resignation. 

On Thursday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal amped up the pressure on the so-called "kissing congressman" to step down, releasing a statement calling McAllister's behavior "an embarrassment." 

“Congressman McAllister’s behavior is an embarrassment and he should resign,” Jindal said. “He says he wants privacy to work on his issues with his family. The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress.”

Republican Rep. Vance McAllister, a married father of five, said he was “very sorry” after a video surfaced earlier in the week showing him and a female staffer locked in a romantic embrace. The staffer, Melissa Hixon Peacock, who is also married, no longer works for the freshman congressman.

McAllister, a first-term congressman who won his special election by running on a strictly Christian conservative platform, has been absent from every House vote this week.

"There's no doubt I've fallen short and I'm asking for forgiveness. I'm asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff, and my constituents who elected me to serve,” said Rep. Vance McAllister in a statement. “I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I've disappointed.”

Earlier in the day, the chairman of Louisiana’s Republican Party asked for McAllister to step down as well -- and he didn’t mince words while doing it.

“Mr. McAllister’s extreme hypocrisy is an example of why ordinary people are fed up with politics,” Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere Jr. said in a statement. “A breach of trust of this magnitude can only be rectified by an immediate resignation. He has embarrassed our party, our state and the institution of Congress. A video showing him engaged in conduct unbecoming a member of Congress, on public time, in a public office, with one of his employees, was the focus of the national press for days.”

“I call on Mr. McAllister to put the interests of his nation, state and party above his own and step aside,” he added.

House Speaker Boehner joined the chorus Thursday, telling reporters that McAllister has “decisions he has to make.” The top-ranking Republican confirmed he has spoken with the congressman, but did not disclose details on their conversation.

“I expect all members to be held to the highest ethical standards, and this is no different,” said Boehner.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor declined to comment on whether the congressman should resign while speaking with reporters on Tuesday.

“I think that his constituents deserve an apology. I'm glad he issued an apology,'' Cantor said, who has not personally spoken to the congressman about the issue. “I will say that the American people deserve all of their representatives here in Washington to hold to a very high standard of behavior.''