NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The saga of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner and his wife, top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, will soon be coming in living color to a movie theater near you.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, New York voters also lived through the implosion of Weiner’s political career, and the spectacle of his wife’s “stand by your man” performance after he was hit with new sexting allegations during his 2013 mayoral run.
Now, the entire country will get to see it in a new documentary, “Weiner,” telling the inside story of how Weiner and Abedin coped with two sexting scandals. The documentary also explains how he revived his political career even after admitting that he sexted naked selfies to strangers and resigned from Congress in 2011.
The cameras rolled as Weiner’s 2013 mayoral campaign was derailed by reports that he used the name “Carlos Danger” to send explicit texts.
“I made the decision that it was worth staying in this marriage,” Abedin said back on July 23, 2013.
The New York Times viewed the documentary ahead of its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this coming Sunday, and reported that it was filled with behind-the-scenes details.
“As the second scandal unfolds in July 2013, Mr. Weiner is shown panicking; misleading the news media; and, at one point, racing through the back halls of a McDonald’s to avoid a woman with whom he traded inappropriate texts, whom his campaign code-named ‘Pineapple,’” New York Times reporters Amy Chozck and Brooks Barnes wrote in a Tuesday report.
There were also striking parallels to how Mrs. Clinton handled her husband President Bill Clinton’s sex scandals, Kramer reported.
The New York Times reported that a young campaign staffer was “on the verge of tears” upon preparing to leave the Weiners’ Park Avenue South apartment.
The Times reported Abedin advised the staffer: “Just a quick optics thing? I assume those photographers are still outside. So, you will look happy?” The staffer agreed, the newspaper reported.
Also addressed was Abedin’s role in getting Weiner to run for mayor. Weiner told the filmmakers that his wife wanted him to mount a political comeback because “she was very eager to get her life back that I had taken from her,” the Times reported.
Weiner also advised Abedin to “‘act like a normal campaign candidate’s wife’” and say, “’Anthony is doing an amazing job,’” the newspaper reported.
Experts said since Abedin is a top advisor to Hillary Clinton and her “surrogate daughter,” the documentary will damage Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“This is going to create fodder for political advertisements,” said Baruch College of School of Public Affairs dean David Birdsell. “There’re pictures, there’re images, there’re sound bites that can reinforce this question about how, in this case, Huma Abedin – but by extension – Hillary Clinton has behaved in the wake of sexual infidelity, but also potentially misogynistic abuse of women on the other.”
“It will drown out the discussion of policy, and policy will now be replaced by gossip, entertainment, sex, tawdriness, sordidness, and everything people don’t want to hear,” said political consultant Hank Sheinkopf.
When Weiner announced his candidacy for the 2013 Democratic New York City mayoral primary, he found himself in the lead in many polls among the Democratic candidates for mayor. But his numbers took a nosedive after revelations surfaced in July about his sexting relationship with a woman named Sydney Leathers.
The gossip Web site “The Dirty” published several steamy exchanges and two censored photos reportedly supplied by Leathers, who the site said had been involved in an online relationship with Weiner as late as the summer of 2012. Weiner became instantly infamous for the “Carlos Danger” screen name that appeared with the seamy messages.
When the allegations hit, Weiner responded apologetically at a news conference alongside Abedin. But he said he would be moving forward with his mayoral campaign, despite calls from some of his opponents – as well as newspaper editorial writers – to withdraw.
The scandal grew seamier in the days afterward. Two days after the initial revelations, The Dirty posted two unredacted photos of a man’s penis that it said Weiner sent to Leathers in 2012.
Mayor Bill de Blasio won the primary, defeating Weiner, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former city comptrollers Bill Thompson and John Liu, former city Councilman Sal Albanese, and community leader Erick Salgado. Weiner came in with only 5 percent of the vote.
The world premiere of “Weiner” on Sunday comes just two days before key primary contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. It hits movie houses in May, and airs on Showtime in October.
When asked about the documentary, Weiner told CBS2’s Kramer, “Haven’t seen it. Haven’t asked to.”