NEW YORK – Anthony Weiner spoke with reporters outside his apartment building Wednesday morning, saying he’s moving forward with his mayoral campaign despite growing calls for him to quit.
Weiner made it sound as though it was just another day on the campaign trail.
“I’m gonna head over to the campaign office, I got some calls to make. I’ve got to prepare for a couple of candidate forums tonight on some important issues. And I’m also working on the second edition of my ideas book, for ideas for the middle class and those struggling to make it.”
Weiner was asked point-blank about the growing chorus of calls for him to drop out of the race.
“You know, there have been people since the moment I got into this race who didn’t want me to run,” Weiner said. “There have been people who didn’t want me to run at the very beginning.
You know, but, a lot of people have been crying out for someone to talk about issues important to the middle class. A lot of the same people who weren’t crazy about me running in the first place now want me to get out, including my opponents, who I am sure didn’t want me in the race in the first place.”
Weiner was asked about whether character is an issue in the mayoral race.
“That’s for citizens to decide. Everyone has to decide. Look, I know there are people who may well never conceive of voting for me because of the things that are in my past, I get that,” said Weiner.
Weiner denied that the disclosure of sexting exchanges that took place after he resigned from congress changed the nature of the scandal.
“The conversation in this campaign has been the same since the very beginning: That I have things in my background that I’ve talked about that are legitimate for people to discuss.
They’re behind me and I’ve been trying to talk about ideas for the middle class and those struggling to make it, and people who have been on the campaign trail have watched how people have responded to that. This is not just about me. This is about the city and the aspirations of people to make things better.”
Weiner acknowledged his strategy may strike some as unconventional.
“I have posited this whole campaign on a bet. And that is that citizens at the end of the day are more interested in the challenges they face in their lives than anything that I have done embarrassing in my past,” Weiner said. “You know, I’m fine. I’ve got an amazing wife and child upstairs, a comfortable life.
This is not about me. This is about the fact in the middle class people are struggling to make it in this city. They can’t find housing they can afford, jobs with benefits, their education system isn’t… this is what I try to talk about every day.”
“These things are in my past, and I think citizens understand that,” Weiner said finally, before jumping in to an SUV.
Many of his opponents are calling on him to quit the race after additional sexting messages surfaced Tuesday like the one that destroyed his congressional career. The new disclosures included a graphic photo.
Weiner admitted sending a woman sexually explicit photos and messages as recently as last summer, more than a year after he resigned from the House because of similar behavior with at least a half-dozen women.
Weiner first addressed the new exchanges with his wife Huma Abedin at his side Tuesday.
Weiner, 48, has been near the top of most polls since his late entry into the race in May. The latest disclosures could severely test voters’ willingness to forgive him.
“I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out and today they have,” said Weiner Tuesday, who added that he was surprised that more had not surfaced sooner.
“It makes it tougher to believe this is behind him,” said Democratic former state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, now a political consultant.
And some voters who were open-minded about a second chance may not be able to stomach a third.
“He had a chance to redeem himself and if he did it twice, he really betrayed the public’s trust again,” Jeremy Green said. “I think he’s past the point of no return.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a leading mayoral candidate, released a statement Wednesday that stopped just short of calling for Weiner to get out of the race.
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