Pundit: If Weiner’s ‘Test Balloon’ Works, He Could Be A Threat To Everyone
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The next first couple of New York City could very well be disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, a second daughter to Hillary Clinton.
They both gave revealing interviews about Weiner’s sex scandal, their efforts to patch things up and the love that binds them, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday.
It was as if Weiner was trying to drive the getaway car. He appeared before the media hordes on his doorstep for a quick back and forth to allow his wife, son and their nanny to sneak out a back door.
But they weren’t that quick as CBS 2 cameras caught them exclusively trying to steal away.
“I don’t have anything more to add than what you read in the New York Times story,” Weiner said. “But I’ll be glad to sit down individually with each of you next week. Thank you very much.”
Weiner did not respond to Kramer’s questions about possibly running for mayor.
In the Times interview Weiner, 48, asks forgiveness and said he’d like to run for mayor.
“I want to ask people to give me a second chance,” he said. “I do recognize, to some degree, it’s now or maybe never for me, in terms of running for something.”
But as CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, writer Jonathan van Meter said on WCBS 880 that he did not get a positive read on whether Weiner will run.
“He said to me, ‘I was probably not going to run for Congress again, I didn’t want to be a senator, I’m not interested in Albany,’” van Meter said. “The only thing he really wanted to be was the mayor of New York.”
Meanwhile, the interesting parts of the interview reveal the inner workings of the Weiner-Abedin relationship, how he told her he lied about the racy pictures he tweeted and how he broke it to his new wife.
“I just sat down with Huma and said, ‘Listen. I can’t … I don’t want to lie.’ She was devastated. There was the crime, there was the cover-up. There was harm I had done to her. No one deserved to have a dope like me do that less than she did.”
Abedin knows all about the game of politics. She was 21 years old when she started working for Clinton as a White House intern, and actually met Weiner when Clinton became a senator in 2001. They’d been married for less than a year when the tweeting scandal broke out.
The 48-year-old former firebrand congressman was at the center of controversy in May 2011 after he tweeted racy photos of himself to a bevy of women. One was accidentally sent out to all 45,000 of his online followers.
At first he lied and said the photos weren’t him, but then he admitted it and eventually resigned.
“I wasn’t really thinking. What does it mean that I’m doing this? Is this risky behavior? Is this smart behavior? To me it was just another way to feed the notion that I want to be liked and admired,” Weiner said in the Times piece.
Abedin said she loved her husband but, nevertheless, the news hit her like a ton of bricks.
“I felt like I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “I felt like I was in an airplane really high in the air, and all of a sudden, the plane is coming apart at the seams, and I’m just doing all I can to hang on for dear life.”
The political power couple had known each other for a decade and they had just learned Abedin was pregnant. So Weiner resigned and focused on his family. Abedin said she felt betrayed and it took a long time to decide to try and make their marriage work.
“It took a long time to be able to sit on a couch next to Anthony and say, ‘OK, I understand and I forgive.’ It was the right choice for me. I didn’t make it lightly,” she said.
Relationship expert Lori Zaslow said laying low for all this time may have saved their marriage.
“Next to all the political scandals this was literally like a grain of sand in a beach. This is something that so could be worked on. People have gone through so much worse and stuck together. I mean for better or for worse that’s the vows you take,” Zaslow told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.
“She’s given me another chance and I am very grateful for that. And I’m trying to make sure I get it right,” Weiner said.
As for what’s next in Abedin’s career, it likely will hinge on what Clinton decides to do next. In the interim, Abedin is undoubtedly helping her husband decide whether voters are ready to give him a second chance.
Weiner clearly wants to test the political waters and pundits say, why not?
“This is the magical mystery Anthony Weiner ‘I’m here again’ tour and what it means is he’s taking a trial balloon and putting it up in the air and if it pops and blows up, well, he’s out, but if it doesn’t blow up he’s in the race and he’s a threat to a lot of people. He’s a threat to Bill de Blasio. He’s a threat to Christine Quinn,” political analyst Hank Sheinkopf said.
Interestingly, one of Weiner’s mentors, Sen. Charles Schumer, steered clear of a possible mayoral race for the former congressman.
“I’m not even going to get into that. It’s much too early to think about mayor,” Schumer said. “I’m not having any reaction too early to think about mayor.”
Weiner’s ultimate decision to run or not will probably be based on a series of polls. He’s already spent $100,000 on one and there are reports he’s in the field again. He wants to see if voters can really move on.
If Weiner wants to run, in order to qualify for matching funds from New York City’s Campaign Finance Board, he would have to file paperwork indicating his intention to run by June 10. If he doesn’t want matching funds, he must file paperwork sometime late in July, CBS 2’s Hsu reported.
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