Reporting Marcia Kramer
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Is former congressman Anthony Weiner, following his now infamous sexting scandal, going to throw his hat into the ring in the already crowded Democratic race for New York City mayor?
We’ll know for sure in a matter of days.
On Tuesday, Weiner faced CBS 2 cameras for the very first time since he left office in disgrace, and asked voters to give him a second chance.
Weiner told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer the decision on whether he’ll run will come soon.
Kramer: “What’s your time frame?”
Weiner: “Well, Marcia, it has gotta be soon, you know? It’s this, as Yogi Berra used to say, ‘it’s getting late early.’ You know, in the next days and weeks, not months, that’s for sure.”
Recent polls show Weiner in the number two spot in the crowded Democratic field — with 15 percent of the vote — but many Democrats don’t want him to run.
“It’s not going to be a matter of a poll that is going to make the determination, but if I sense that, and I think that there is, that there is this appetite to have a discussion about ideas and how to move the city forward, I’m going to be enticed to want to be part of that conversation,” Weiner said.
Weiner has very definite ideas about policing in this city.
Kramer: “Would you increase the size of the Police Department?”
Weiner: “I think that it’s a mistake that our Police Department is now smaller than it was on Sept. 11.”
He is against the so-called Muslim spying that the NYPD employs as part of its anti-terror plan and doesn’t think that an inspector general is necessary to police the police. He also generally supports the controversial stop, question and frisk program, but …
“If you are a police officer and the stats show you are doing thousands of 250s, which are what those stops are called, and no guns are being found, no crime is found to be committed, no reasonable suspicion has been supported by the courts, you’re a bad cop and should be fired,” Weiner said.
And while he thinks there should be tax incentives for people who bike to work, he said he has reservations about some of the bike lanes Mayor Michael Bloomberg has installed.
“There are good bike lanes and there are bad bike lanes,” Weiner said. “There’s part of Broadway that have been reduced to one lane. A truck that now wants to make a delivery has to park in the traffic and stop the traffic in order to make deliveries,” Weiner said.
And as for the $64,000 question about the scandal:
Kramer: “Could it happen again?”
Weiner: “I can’t imagine it would ever happen again. I can’t imagine that anything like that would happen again. I’m not going to say I never make any mistakes anymore, but I certainly don’t have that same thoughtless, blank thoughtless, black spot that led me to make these mistakes.”
Weiner seemed contrite and, at first, just a bit nervous to sit down with Kramer and explain how he tweeted compromising pictures to about half a dozen women he didn’t know.
Kramer: “Do you think in some ways you meant to sabotage yourself?”
Weiner: “People will often say to me some version of that question, what were you thinking? I hate to say this, but I wasn’t thinking. I just don’t know how to explain this. I think I could be talking about this for hours and never offer a satisfactory answer for why I did such a dumb, hurtful thing.”
Kramer: “How do you show [New Yorkers] that you have the judgment and the maturity to run a city as complex as New York City?”
Weiner: “The first thing I’ll say and I’ll say it to you: It’s not as if I was somehow some victim of some terrible conspiracy. I brought this upon myself. I guess I would ask people to judge me the way that I think that everyone wants to be judged, which is on the totality of what they’ve done.
“The first and most important hurdle was asking — and I’ll do this every day — for forgiveness from my wife and asking for her to give me a second chance, but now I guess I want to look in the eyes of New Yorkers and ask them to give me a second chance as well,” Weiner added.
Using Twitter to send out sexually compromising pictures of himself became a worldwide public embarrassment for not only Weiner, but his wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton. He stopped tweeting when the scandal broke, but now he’s at it again.
Kramer: “You’re tweeting again. Do you think it’s a good idea?”
Weiner: “You know, Twitter didn’t bring me down; Facebook didn’t bring me down; social media didn’t bring me down. I did. I think social media is part of governance and politics for the years to come and if I plan on being part of it I’m going to be part of it as well.”
The Weiners are a mixed marriage. He is Jewish and she is Muslim, which many think would be an interesting melding of cultures in this a multi-cultural city. If he won the couple and their young son would move into Gracie Mansion. Kramer asked him if it would help to eradicate intolerance.
“You know when you fall in love with someone you don’t see the demographic. You don’t see a neighborhood. You don’t see a nationality. You don’t even see a religion. And I think that that’s a lot about what New York is,” Weiner said.
If he enters the race, Weiner would have to collect 3,500 signatures in June and submit them to the Board of Elections by July.