Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner is attempting to restore his image after resigning almost two years ago in a Twitter sex scandal, confirming to The New York Times Magazine
that he is looking to run for New York City Mayor.
Private polls show New Yorkers are ready to give him a second chance, Weiner claims. But voters want to know what he and his wife, former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, have learned from the scandal.
And the couple attempt to answer that in exhaustive interviews with the magazine, for a cover article designed to put the 48-year-old seven-term congressman back into the public eye.
“Weiner and Abedin have realized, it seems, that the only way out is through,” writes article author Jonathan Van Meter. “So they have agreed to talk — and talk and talk — for the first time about what happened and why and what it looks like from the inside when your world comes crashing down because of, as Weiner puts it, ‘one fateful Tweet.’”
Weiner resigned from Congress in June 2011, after admitting that he had posted a lewd picture of himself on Twitter. He had meant to send it only to a 21-year-old Seattle student he had never met, but mistakenly sent it to all of his 45,000 Twitter followers.
He initially claimed his account had been hacked and spent nearly a month repeatedly changing his story before finally coming clean.
During the series of interviews for the New York Times Magazine, Weiner claims to be a changed man — even his family tells Van Meter he was a “jerk” with “definitely a douchiness about him,” when he was in Congress.
“I don’t have this burning, overriding desire to go out and run for office,” Weiner says. “It’s not the single animating force in my life as it was for quite some time.
“But I do recognize, to some degree, it’s now or maybe never for me, in terms of running for something. I’m trying to gauge not only what’s right and what feels comfortable right this second, but I’m also thinking, How will I feel in a year or two years or five years? Is this the time that I should be doing it? And then there’s the other side of the coin, which is . . . am I still the same person who I thought would make a good mayor?
“Also, I want to ask people to give me a second chance. I do want to have that conversation with people whom I let down and with people who put their faith in me and who wanted to support me. I think to some degree I do want to say to them, ‘Give me another chance.’ ”
If he decides to run, Weiner’s strongest challenger is likely to be current New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn, a fellow Democrat. A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday — which did not include Weiner — put her well ahead of her potential primary rivals and even further up on Republican challengers.
Weiner said his pollster, David Binder, “said I’d be the underdog in any race I ran,” but the polls showed that voters are “generally prepared to get over” his demise.
“There’s a healthy number of people who will never get over it,” he adds. “It’s a little complicated because I always attracted a fairly substantial amount of people who didn’t like me anyway. I am a bit of a polarizing case.”
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