On his second day as a mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner visited a trio of local Queens newspapers–the Queens Tribune, Queens Courier and Queens Chronicle–trying to burnish his image as an outer-borough, middle class champion despite his new Manhattan residence.
His first newspaper stop was at the Chronicle, a weekly newspaper located in Mr. Weiner’s old congressional district. Mr. Weiner, never known for being punctual in his days as a congressman, arrived 20 minutes late to a meeting with the editorial board at the Rego Park-based newspaper. While political observers have been speculating about how much Mr. Weiner has changed since a Twitter scandal forced him to resign from Congress two years ago, the ex-Brooklyn and Queens legislator hasn’t changed much, according to an editor at the newspaper.
He even drives the same vehicle he drove before his political career fell apart: a Ford Escape hybrid.
“He’s always been Anthony. He’s always confident and ready to make the case and argument for himself,” said Joseph Orovic, assistant managing editor and online editor at the publication. “When I asked him about why he chose to sit down with us, he said our question showed we have an inferiority complex about ourselves. He has a tendency to do that, bat away a question with a compliment.”
Mr. Orovic said that Mr. Weiner sounded like a centrist, arguing that a true progressive should be asking how many city agencies should be cut. As a mayoral candidate, he was “surprisingly well-versed” on various policy issues and repeatedly mentioned the importance of the middle class, a centerpiece of his campaign rhetoric so far.
Notably, Mr. Orovic said, it was Mr. Weiner’s campaign that reached out to set up a meeting with the Queens newspaper, not the newspaper itself.
When pressed on why he moved from a Forest Hills co-op to a high-end Manhattan apartment, Mr. Weiner reiterated that it was his wife’s choice and he owed it to her to do what she wished in his infamous scandal’s aftermath. When one person told Mr. Weiner he was performing cognitive dissonance by calling himself a middle class champion while living on Park Avenue South, the candidate said the race was not “about him,” but the people of the city.
“I don’t believe what I’ve said about the middle class and struggling to make it doesn’t mean that I don’t want people to be successful,” he reportedly argued.