Weiner Says He Won't Drop Campaign For NYC Mayor

Jul 23, 2013

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Disgraced former congressman - and current New York City mayoral candidate - Anthony Weiner is apologizing again, this time after the publication of still more lewd messages and photos that Weiner exchanged online with a woman who is not his wife.

Today's sexting scandal is, in some ways, a replay of the one that ended Weiner's congressional career two years ago. But this time, Weiner says he is not dropping his campaign for mayor of New York. Here he is at a press conference today in Manhattan.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

ANTHONY WEINER: I'm responsible for this behavior that led us to be in this place but in many ways, things are not that much different than they were yesterday.

BLOCK: And NPR's Joel Rose joins me now from New York. Joel, what else did Anthony Weiner say today at this news conference?

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Well, to start with, Weiner basically acknowledged that the same behavior that forced him to resign from Congress continued for a while after he'd actually resigned. The woman who said she'd received these messages released them anonymously, through a website called The Dirty. They are purportedly screenshots of conversations from Weiner's own Facebook account and some others that are allegedly - in which he has allegedly using the pseudonym Carlos Danger.

Weiner acknowledged that some of this material released today is true, and some is not. It's not clear exactly which is which. But he did acknowledge that these exchanges continued after his resignation from Congress back in July of 2011, and in fact, that they may have continued all the way into the summer of 2012. The woman who received these messages claims that they continued until November of 2012.

BLOCK: Anthony Weiner is also saying that this behavior is behind him. He did say, when he announced that he was running for mayor of New York back in the spring, that there might be other women, other online exchanges and photos that had not yet been revealed. Does that limit the damage here?

ROSE: Well, there was always a sense that there were more allegations like this, that were possible and, indeed, that we'd probably see them before the election. But I guess what people - what I'm not sure people really expected was that this behavior, on Weiner's part, might have continued for as long as it allegedly did.

Part of Weiner's pitch to New Yorkers when he announced his run, was to essentially say, this is between me and my wife; she's forgiven me, so I want you to forgive me. And he repeated that formula today. It's been working pretty well for him but, you know, who knows if he can survive this latest revelation.

BLOCK: And Joel, we did see Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, appear at his side at that news conference. She talked about her husband's horrible mistake. Let's listen to a little bit more of what she had to say.

HUMA ABEDIN: We discussed all of this before Anthony decided he would run for mayor. So really, what I want to say is, I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him. And as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.

ROSE: Those are not exactly the words of a couple who are preparing to get out of this race. And in fact, Anthony Weiner has been leading in some polls, or a close second in others. Huma Abedin is not new to politics. She's a veteran. She's been an aide to senator and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. So she's seen this kind of scandal before, and she's used to being a political operative in the background. But she's been forced to move into the foreground during this campaign, and she was very much out there front and center today.

BLOCK: That's NPR's Joel Rose in New York, where Democrat Anthony Weiner has announced he will stay in the race for mayor, despite new sexting revelations. Joel, thanks very much.

ROSE: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.