Despite calls for his resignation from constituents and some Oregon newspapers, Democratic Rep. David Wu continues to insist that he will not step down.
"I can do this job, and I can do it well," Wu told The Associated Press on Sunday, in one of a series of interviews he conducted over the weekend to try to reassure voters after admissions that he suffered from mental health problems that caused him to behave erratically last fall.
"I am not resigning," he told ABC affiliate KATU on Saturday. "There aren't any circumstances that I can imagine where I'm going to resign. The people of Oregon have selected me to do a job, and I'm going to do it."
The Eugene Register-Guard, which operates outside of Wu's district, last week called on him to resign, and The Oregonian — which so far has been denied an interview with Wu — said before Wu's latest round of interviews that he ought to do more to answer constituents' questions about his mental health and fitness to serve.
Wu said he can handle the stress of serving in Congress and campaigning for another term. "Anyone who has known me over a period of time has said that I handle a wide variety of things very well," he told The AP. "Last October was an atypical period for anybody."
"I think the important thing that Oregonians want to know is, did you seek help then, are you getting better and can you do the job?" he said in an interview with Portland Fox affiliate KPTV. "And my answers are yes, I sought help then, I've continued to consult as needed for counseling, for medication when needed, and I'm in a very good place right now."
But Wu acknowledged that he has experienced mental health problems in the past. In 2008, he told The AP, he was hospitalized for two days just after his campaign, for what he said were side effects of mental health prescription drugs. "It came up that afternoon, and it knocked me off my can," Wu said, referring to how his body suddenly reacted to the medications on Election Day — and why his staffers could not locate him at the time.
Wu said he had taken "very common" drugs, which his office identified as the sleep aid Ambien and a generic form of Valium. Wu has said publicly that he stopped drinking alcohol on July 1 of last year.
"I absolutely do not have an alcohol abuse problem or a drug abuse problem or a prescription drug abuse problem," Wu said in his Fox interview.
Wu's startling behavior last fall — including sending a photograph of himself in a tiger costume and writing e-mails in the voices of his children — was the culmination of two years of mental health difficulties resulting from the dissolution of his marriage, he said. Repeating comments he had made early last week, Wu told Fox that he had "a challenging time" last fall, including a "very, very stressful election" in November. "I said some things, and I did some things that I shouldn't have done," he said.