In a six-minute interview on "Good Morning America," Wu admitted to sending inappropriate e-mails to staff and said he is receiving counseling and medication. He assured viewers that he is fit to stay in office.
"Last October was not a good month; it was very stressful. I did some things. I said some things which I sincerely regret now. And as a result of those things I saw fit to consult professional help. I got the help I needed then. I'm continuing to consult medical help as I need it, and I'm in a good place now," Wu told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
Later in the day, in response to a written query, Wu told The Oregonian he had accepted prescription medication from a campaign contributor in Portland in October. Wu said that he had left the painkiller prescribed by his doctor for neck pain in Washington and that the donor offered him something for a severe episode.
"The donor offered me an alternative painkiller, and I took two tablets. This was the only time that this has ever happened," Wu wrote. "I recognize that my action showed poor judgment at the time, and I sincerely regret having put my staff in a difficult position."
A campaign staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as the person still works in politics, confirmed that Wu, 55, had taken oxycodone from the donor.
Wu's unpredictable, and according to people who worked with him, temperamental behavior during the 2010 campaign contributed to significant departures of his senior staff and the most recent crisis of his more than 12 years in Congress.
The controversy has triggered reports to The Oregonian of other episodes of troubling behavior, including during the 2008 campaign. For example, on Election Day 2008, Wu disappeared and his staff couldn't find him. Multiple sources who were involved with Wu's campaign that year said that not even his wife, Michelle, could locate him.
The couple have separated since then.
Wu, a Democrat, has refused to be interviewed by The Oregonian since January when the newspaper reported an exodus of staffers and concern over the congressman's behavior. Reporters have made repeated requests for interviews and offered lists of questions.
Congress is out of session this week, but Wu's spokesman said there are no plans to hold a public, in-person session with constituents in Oregon this week.
Wu remained in Washington until Tuesday when he flew to Florida, spokesman Erik Dorey said. He will remain there to witness the launch of the space shuttle Discovery on Thursday and then might return to Oregon for the weekend, Dorey said.
Dorey said Wu hopes to hold tele-town hall meetings next week but conceded that it is unlikely Wu will make a public appearance in Oregon until late March, when the House has its next recess. In the meantime, Dorey said, Wu is planning to conduct interviews with Portland TV stations and other media, possibly as early as today.
"Good Morning" interview
Wu's first public response to reports of his erratic behavior was on national television. He sounded composed and looked healthy. Stephanopoulos asked whether Wu sought the kind of help his staffers wanted for him: a bed in a psychiatric hospital.
"Well George, I don't know what they were seeking, ..." Wu said. "At the end of the day my physician said that he could not diagnose me from 3,000 miles away."
Wu said that he is receiving counseling and medication but declined to say what his diagnosis was or what medication he is taking. Dorey also declined to answer follow-up questions from The Oregonian that would provide detail about where Wu is getting treatment and how often.
Wu said in the "Good Morning America" interview that, as a single father of two children, he could not take a week or two away from them.
"I sought appropriate medical help at the time, and I'm continuing to do that," he said. "I think that mental health is a very, very important issue and people ought to feel ready, willing and able to seek it when they need it, and perhaps doing this interview with you, George, will help other people feel more comfortable about addressing those issues."
As in an earlier written statement, Wu suggested that the stress associated with raising two adolescent children and caring for his 88-year-old mother contributed to his eroding mental health. Wu's mother lives in Washington and assumed greater responsibility for child care after the congressman's nanny resigned late last year.
Comments about photos
In the "Good Morning America" interview, Wu addressed The Oregonian's story Friday that he sent a series of strange e-mails that he sent a series of strange e-mails to staff from his federally issued BlackBerry in the early morning of Oct. 30. He included a photo of himself dressed as a tiger for Halloween. But more disturbing, sources told The Oregonian, were e-mails in that batch written in the voice of his adolescent children.
Wu did not mention the written e-mails on Tuesday. He told ABC that it was not proper of him to send the photos "even when you're joshing around with your kids a couple of nights before Halloween."
"I did send those photographs," he said. "It was unprofessional, inappropriate."
Oregon's political community continued to roil Tuesday. Over on Democratic-leaning website BlueOregon, people debated whether the congressman should resign or, at the very least, talk directly to constituents in Oregon. Others said he should stay in office and be given a chance to get medical care and finish his job.
In an interview, prominent businessman Junki Yoshida said he had supported Wu in earlier years, but in 2010, he backed Wu's Republican challenger, Rob Cornilles. That earned Yoshida an earful over the phone from the congressman last fall. Yoshida said Wu kept yelling at him and wouldn't let him talk.
"He's screaming, 'we are brothers, we've got to stick together,'" Yoshida told The Oregonian, adding, "It's not normal behavior at all."
Source has more links and video of the GMA interview.