As Anthony Weiner’s campaign continues to unravel, the former congressman’s spotty legislative record came under scrutiny–along with his sexting habits–at a forum dedicated to disability issues this evening in Midtown.
After being chased by cameras and shouting reporters down the sidewalk, up and down stairs and into an auditorium, the increasingly agitated mayoral candidate addressed the 504 Democratic Club forum, where members of the media far out-numbered other audience members. (The audience included at least three New York Times staffers, including executive editor Jill Abramson and columnist Maureen Dowd.)
After briefly discussing his plan for 2,000 wheelchair-accessible cabs and taxi stands in every zip code, Mr. Weiner, looking drained, was confronted by Philip Bennett, 57, a home care worker from Brooklyn.
“Mr. Weiner, when you were my congressman, you pledged your active co-sponsorship of a law to allow people with disabilities to live in their own homes rather than nursing homes,” said Mr. Bennett, referring to the Community Choice Act, which Mr. Weiner quickly indicated he recognized.
“One year later,” continued Mr. Bennett, “you withdrew your sponsorship. You claimed you had something better. You didn’t tell me what it was. And no one on your staff knew what it was, Mr. Weiner.”
And then came an oft-repeated question: “Frankly, I have to ask: How can I trust you?”
Mr. Weiner, who spent much of his time between answers siting with his feet crossed at the ankles, his hands in his pockets and slumped in his chair, said he wasn’t sure what had happened to the bill, and immediately changed the subject, touting his plans for a single-payer healthcare system for New York City, the money it would save, and denouncing recent hospital closures. His was the only campaign, he argued, talking about such bold reforms.
But the answer was entirely unsatisfying for Mr. Bennett, who said he suffers from an “invisible” emotional disability.
“He knew exactly what the Community Choice Act is,” he told Politicker bitterly after Mr. Weiner had left the stage. “We worked long and hard about it … And then told me that he had this pie-in-the-sky idea of some other legislation that was better than the Community Choice Act.”
“Never happened,” he said of the bill, which would guarantee people eligible for nursing homes the option of receiving nursing care at home instead. The bill remains stalled in Congress to this day.
As exited the building, Mr. Weiner continued to dodge questions from reporters about his latest scandal–including whether he’s still engaged in any type of sexting–rushing quickly to his waiting SUV.