Anthony Weiner launches Candidacy for NYC City Mayor

Former congressman covets mayoral job

Anthony D. Weiner’s bid to become New York City Mayor is officially on. In a two-minute video, posted to a YouTube site Tuesday night, Mr. Weiner declared his candidacy for the job.

In the slick video, the former disgraced congressman argued for the candidacy. He acknowledged wrongdoing but mostly concentrated on proclaiming that he had the experience and the knowledge it takes to help New Yorkers deal with problems of education, public safety and high prices.

“Look, I made some big mistakes, and I know I let a lot of people down,’’ he says. “But I’ve also learned some tough lessons.”
In the video, Mr. Weiner, 48, describes himself as an advocate of the city’s middle class, and denounced rising rents, a scarcity of “good jobs with benefits,” substandard schools and over-regulated businesses.

“The very people that put everything they had into this city are getting priced right out of it,’’ he says. “But it doesn’t have to be that way.”

The former lawmaker is embarking onto a field that is already crowded for the September’s primary. But he holds significant advantages over his rivals, including an almost $5 million campaign war chest, and the possibility of raising more than $1 million in public matching funds, and name recognition. A recent poll showed him ahead of all but one Democrat, Christine Quinn.

His participation in the race makes a runoff more probable. Many political observers have said he could at least get to the second round.

Once a rising star of New York politics, Mr. Weiner was forced to resign in disgrace in 2011, after posting lewd photos of himself, including that of an underwear-clad groin, on his Twitter account. He had sent the image to a college student in Seattle. Initially he denied he had posted the photo and claimed his account had been hacked.
After more photos appeared, including one where he was bare-chested in a congressional office, the married congressman, admitted to exchanging indecent messages and engaging in sexual banter with multiple women he had never met.

He announced his resignation at a raucous press conference in New York in the summer of 2011. He said “the distraction that I have created” had made continuing “impossible.”

“I’m here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused,” he said.

Weiner still continues to struggle with questions about his character and the scandal that imploded his career two years ago. Over the past few weeks, Mr. Weiner tried to re-merge into public life but was chased by tabloid photographers. He opted to declare his candidacy from the safe distance of a video.
The video may be intended to revamp his image as a family man and reassure voters made uncomfortable by his past behavior online, for it features various reminders of Mr. Weiner’s family.

The video opens with the former congressman and his wife, Huma Abedin and their infant son, Jordan, having breakfast. The couple is featured feeding their child. Later, Mr. Weiner asks for a second chance saying, 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.”

Towards the end, Ms. Abedin, who was a close aide to Hilary Clinton, is shown saying, “We love this city, and no one will work harder to make it better than Anthony.”
The video also shows Mr. Weiner’s childhood elementary school and describes his mother’s work as a schoolteacher and his father’s career as a lawyer.
There is speculation that the campaign video was posted prematurely, since there was no prior announcement. Although Mr. Weiner was widely expected to declare his candidacy on Wednesday, the video appeared in the middle of the night on Tuesday, and then disappeared from the candidate’s YouTube page and his campaign website.
Since his resignation, Mr. Weiner has opened a consulting firm and cashed in on his Washington connections.

His political philosophy has always been something of an abnormality in the city’s more liberal Democratic world. He always cast himself as a centrist. He called for a single-payer health care system even as he has called for tax cuts and voted for the war in Iraq.

Friends and former aides expect him to be a formidable opponent in spite of his past troubles, citing his talents as a as a tireless political strategist and negotiator when he was in Congress. They expect him to stake out similar territory in his run for mayor, casting himself, as a centrist champion of the city’s vanishing middle class.
Last year, though, Mr. Weiner moved from Forest Hills, Queens, to Gramercy Park in Manhattan, where he lives in a four-bedroom luxury apartment with Ms. Abedin and Jordan.

By Perviz Walji

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