Weiner, in Iowa, Defends Hillary Against Bloomberg

010108 wiener web Weiner, in Iowa, Defends Hillary Against BloombergWhile Hillary Clinton delivered her closing argument to voters in Cedar Rapids, I asked Representative Anthony Weiner, who is out here campaigning for her, what he thought about Michael Bloomberg’s criticisms of the presidential candidates today.

“If he thinks there is a vacuum for good ideas, I don’t think he has looked at the candidates carefully, including his own senator,” said Weiner, who is all but certainly running to succeed Bloomberg as mayor. When I asked him if he thought Bloomberg would run for president, he suggested the mayor would be shirking his current responsibilities if he did so: “Hillary will be our nominee and then we’ll see. If the mayor wants to run, that’s fine, some of us are focused on the candidate we support, and the future of the city.”

But Weiner made it clear that a Bloomberg candidacy would have to be taken seriously, because of the money he could spend and because it would hurt Clinton’s chances.

“Just like no one knew what 150 million in a mayor’s race would look like, no one knows what a billion dollars in a presidential race looks like,” Weiner said. When asked him if Bloomberg’s run would adversely affect Clinton, he said “The polls don’t show that, but I think yes.”

Weiner also took issue with Bloomberg’s assertion that none of the candidates were offering serious proposals on health care.

“You can make an argument that no one on the Republican side is engaging in health care in a serious way,” he said. “But on the Democratic side, look there is a full throated debate drilling down into the real complexities of the issue. If the mayor hasn’t noticed that, he is not paying attention.”