Former Rep. Anthony Weiner Launches New York City Mayoral Bid
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Anthony Weiner has officially entered the race for New York City mayor.
After weeks of speculation, the disgraced ex-congressman made the announcement in a YouTube video late Tuesday.
“I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down, but I also learned some tough lessons,” he said on the video. “I’m running for mayor because I’ve been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life. And I hope I get a second chance to work for you.”
Watch The Video Below:
The video appeared Tuesday night but then disappeared for a few hours. It was back online by 5 a.m. Wednesday.
In the video, his wife Huma Abedin, who was a top aide to Hillary Clinton when Clinton was secretary of state, is seen in a family scene with the couple’s young son.
“We love this city and no one will work harder to make it better than Anthony,” Abedin says on the video.
Weiner outlines a platform of sorts on the video, discussing the need to help the city’s middle class.
“New York City should be the middle class capital of the world and I’ve got some ideas on how to do it — 64 of them,” he says.
“It’s getting harder and harder every day. Some of the highest rents in the country went up 20 percent in the last two years alone,” he adds.
He also touts his job performance as a former congressman who fought for 9/11 funding and health care reform.
Weiner resigned in June of 2011 in the wake of a Twitter scandal after lewd pictures he sent to at least six women surfaced. That prompted numerous calls from colleagues for the embattled lawmaker to step down.
In recent interviews, he said he shouldn’t have lied about the Twitter pictures, but said he did it because he wanted to keep the truth from his wife.
“I knew when I did it, almost from the moment I did it, there was no good way for it to end,” Weiner said in an interview in the New York Times Magazine last month. “When I sent that fateful tweet.”
Last month, he also sat down with CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer and explained why he felt New Yorkers should give him a second chance.
“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,” he said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked Wednesday how Weiner’s candidacy, which is already the butt of late-night jokes, might affect the city’s image.
“If you believe in democracy, the public has the right to pick whoever they want and if they find Anthony Weiner to be more competent, acceptable than the others, that’s who they’ll vote for,” Bloomberg told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
Many New Yorkers seemed split over whether or not they would cast a vote for Weiner.
“I won’t vote for him because of the sexual things that he did,” Washington Heights resident Asta Hansen said. “If someone thinks the rules don’t apply to them, they would think the rules don’t apply to them in other instances.”
“I think the fact that he lied in public for such a long time would make it very difficult to trust him,” said Upper West Side resident Ed Yourtan.
“If you’re a good politician and you get things done, I don’t think it matters whether or not you’re bad in your personal life,” said Upper West Side resident Ben Teitelbaum.
“I just feel it’s pathetic. It’s like a joke: who’s going to vote for Anthony Weiner,” said Beverly Litsky of Central Park South.
“The American people are about forgiveness,” said Woodside resident Steven Gootar. “I would consider Weiner.”
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning puts Weiner in the number two spot in the crowded Democratic field.
EXTRA: See The Full Poll Results
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has 25 percent, followed by Weiner with 15 percent, according to the poll. In an April survey of the contest, Quinn had 28 percent and Weiner, who was not yet in the race, was steady at 15 percent.
Another aspect of the poll asked voters if Weiner should run — not if they will vote for him. The results: 49 percent said “no,” while 38 percent said “yes.” Among women, 52 percent said “no” and 35 percent said “yes.”
He already has $4.8 million in his campaign war chest and his participation in the mayoral race makes a runoff more likely.
“With former Congressman Anthony Weiner seeking the Democratic nod, it still looks like Council Speaker Christine Quinn against the guys,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “But where she once was brushing up against the magic 40 percent number that could get her past a run-off, the wear and tear of the campaign, and possibly the addition of Weiner, are taking a toll on the front-runner.”
Even with his slick video announcement there’s no way to know whether Weiner can overcome the heavy burden of a sexting scandal. But pundits said that even if he loses he can have a profound effect on who does win, CBS 2’s Kramer reported.
“I think the reality is that with Anthony Weiner in the race, no individual candidate has the ability to get 40 percent,” political consultant Suri Kaisirer said.
“It almost inevitably means there’s going to be a run-off. And it probably complicates Chris Quinn’s attempt to get outer borough votes,” pundit Bill Cunningham said.
One thing certain: all the candidates will have to raise their game with Weiner in the hunt.
“They’re going to have to sharpen up quite a bit because Anthony Weiner is smart, knows how to use the press. And for all these problems, he talks the language of Brooklyn and Queens voters like and those are the voters who are going to determine the Democratic primary,” Cunningham said.
Weiner’s Democratic opponents include Quinn, City Councilman Sal Albanese; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Comptroller John Liu; the Rev. Erick Salgado, a pastor; and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.
Former White House housing official Aldolfo Carrion Jr. is running on the Independence Party line.
Some other candidates didn’t want to take on Weiner on Wednesday. They wanted the spotlight themselves. A spokesman for de Blasio said now the race is wide open. There was no response from Liu, CBS 2’s Kramer reported.
“Why should I talk about anyone but myself if I’m the one running for mayor here?” Quinn said.
“I’m running against four career politicians. Right now he’s number five. He just has some additional quirks,” Albanese said.
“Welcome to the race. Anyone who can add to the discussion, anyone who can add to the dialogue about the future of the city, they’re welcome into this race,” Thompson added.
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