Anthony Weiner wanted to talk about bikes this morning. He didn’t quite get his wish.
A throng of cameras formed a blockade around the entrance of Zen Bikes in Chelsea, where Mr. Weiner, a former congressman and candidate for mayor, was proposing a tax break plan to promote bicycle commuting. He spoke very briefly on the topic at hand, seeming to anticipate the immediate shift in conversation to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who threw his hat into the city’s comptroller race last night and erupted the media landscape in doing so.
Mr. Weiner, like Mr. Spitzer, resigned in disgrace in the wake of a prominent sex scandal, but Mr. Weiner was unenthused with questions as to whether voters will forgive the former governor’s past indiscretions.
“Ultimately it’s going to be up to the citizens to decide that,” Mr. Weiner said, refusing to refer to Mr. Spitzer by name and pivoting to the substance of his press conference.
“I’m talking about ideas like this because I think that campaigns based on ideas are the way to win. If I were to offer any candidate running for any office advice, it would be to focus on those things. Focus on what the middle class is looking for. Talk about ideas,” Mr. Weiner said.
Nevertheless, he was dismissive of the assumed enormity of Mr. Spitzer entering the New York political fray once again.
“I’m not paying a great deal of attention to the ins and outs of other races. I think everyone was surprised. But it hasn’t changed my life at all,” Mr. Weiner said.
Some speculated that Mr. Weiner’s success in the polls, which have placed him as one of the top two contenders in the mayor’s race, could have inspired Mr. Spitzer’s own bid for office. Mr. Weiner didn’t totally discount this theory.
“People are going to view these things through many different lenses. The first question is because I’m doing so amazingly well is the reason that this happened? I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll let the punditry be done by the pundit.”
When Politicker asked Mr. Weiner how he thought the media attention would affect him, he was expectedly blase.
“Clearly it’s shifted away,” Mr. Weiner said, prompting laughter from all in attendance. “I’m unconcerned about that.”