Thu, Feb 24, 2011 - Page 7 News List

US representative responds to tiger suit photo frenzy

AP, PORTLAND, OREGON

US Democratic Representative David Wu (吳振偉) said on Tuesday that it was “unprofessional and inappropriate” to send pictures of himself wearing a tiger costume to staff members.

Wu, who was born in Taiwan, told ABC’s Good Morning America that the photographs were taken while he was “joshing around” with his children in October just before Halloween.

One photo shows Wu wearing an orange and black striped tiger outfit with pointy ears and striped mittens. Portland newspapers reported that campaign staffers pleaded with Wu to seek psychiatric help in the final week before the November election, but he refused.

The newspapers reported that campaign staffers were appalled by a series of e-mails sent from Wu’s federally issued BlackBerry that included the photo of him in the tiger costume. However, more disturbing, staffers said, were e-mails written in the voice of his adolescent children.

Wu acknowledged sending the photos and said he sought mental health treatment, including counseling and medication. He said on Tuesday he was “in a good place now,” but he ruled out inpatient treatment because he couldn’t spend time away from his family.

“Last October was not a good month. It was very stressful. I did some things, I said some things, which I sincerely regret now,” Wu said in the ABC interview.

However, the seven-term representative assured voters he is fit to remain in office.

“I emphatically can do the job,” Wu said.

Wu said he was stressed from running for office while taking care of his two children as a single father and caring for his 88-year-old mother. He is separated from his wife, Michelle Wu.

Wu has overcome previous revelations of unusual behavior to survive seven elections. Republicans have long eyed Wu’s seat despite a large registration advantage for Democrats, in part because of Wu’s propensity to invite embarrassing news.

The latest reports were published Friday in the Oregonian and Willamette Week. Citing interviews with a number of anonymous staff members, the newspapers reported that Wu was increasingly unpredictable on the campaign trial and in private last autumn, and had several angry and loud outbursts.

Wu, a Yale Law School graduate, was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 1998.

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