Anthony Weiner made the radio rounds Friday morning, as he wrapped up his second week on the campaign trail. And while, in recent days, he has been largely able to avoid conversation of the lewd sexting scandal that forced him to resign two years, the topic was front-and-center Friday for hosts John Gambling and Mark Riley.
WWRL’s Mr. Riley asked Mr. Weiner whether he got mad over the all the Weiner jokes or seeing the word “disgraced” before his name in newspaper stories.
“Frankly, if you don’t have a thick skin—and I’ve developed an almost rhinocerosly thick skin going through this process—then you probably shouldn’t put yourself up for office, particularly if you want to be mayor,” said Mr. Weiner. “I certainly understand completely, Mark, that people have some pretty tough things to say to me, and I’ve certainly seen them all.”
But he also offered harsh words for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying that–while he had helped to unify the city and curb the “palpable” racial tensions post-Giuliani–in some ways, the city was worse off.
“The solutions to many of the city’s biggest problems have not been met, and frankly, in many ways the city is in a worse position,” he said, pointing to growing economic disparities, the growing poverty rate and “an education system that’s not much better” despite a huge spike in spending. “So the record is mixed.”
And on public safety issues, he said that he would not keep on Police Commissioner Ray Kelly—but nonetheless praised the city’s top cop.
“No disrespect intended to him,” he said, but argued that—just like the police department rotates precinct commanders—the city would benefit from a new perspective.
“You always want fresh eyes,” he said. “I think he’s done a good job … but I think that, frankly, some of the policies need to change, and I think having a fresh perspective would be helpful.”
Still, he said, if elected, he’d love to have Mr. Kelly continue to serve in another capacity. Mr. Weiner has said he is favor of stop-and-frisk, but argues the stops need to be done more carefully—“if for no other reason,” he said, “then it’s reversing this sense that we actually have an improvement in the way that persons of color looked at their government. That’s getting eroded by the stop-and-frisk policy and it really needs to change.”
He also bemoaned the number of meals served to homeless children living in city: “It’s a crime,” he said.
Later, speaking with WOR’s John Gambling, who said he personally found it difficult to trust Mr. Weiner after the scandal, Mr. Weiner repeated his practiced line that it will be up to voters to decide.
“What I have said is that people have to make that decision for themselves,” he said, adding that, despite sitting out politics for the past two years, his core convictions haven’t changed.
“I kind of am what I am,” he said. “If people think, ‘Well, if I elect Anthony Weiner mayor he’s gonna to be in this Zen space, that if someone pokes a finger in the eye of New York City, he’s gonna calmly say his meditative chants’ … That’s not gonna be me.”
He also weighed in again on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who told a newspaper editorial board that it would be “shame on us” if Mr. Weiner were elected mayor. He has since claimed he was making a joke.
“The governor said he was making a joke and I completely get it,” Mr. Weiner commented.