Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thus far remained mum on his favored candidate for mayor, but Anthony Weiner is pretty confident he’s got it locked down.
“I think that the mayor, were he a Democrat, would vote for me in the primary and I expect him to vote for me in the general,” declared Mr. Weiner, speaking to reporters at a press conference on parking on the Upper East Side, following a raucous forum at Hunter College.
The former congressman was responding to a question about Mr. Bloomberg’s speech this morning, in which he warned that rising pension costs and ominous “special interest politics” could lead the city in Detroit’s bankrupt footsteps.
But Mr. Weiner, who casually mentioned that he hadn’t heard the speech because “I was getting cheered for the last hour-and-half” at the forum, said he believes he’s the only candidate in the race who is seriously addressing structural issues like the dramatic rise in city workers’ health care costs.
“No candidate in this race has dealt with healthcare costs as seriously as I have,” he said, further noting his lack of endorsements from municipal unions, which Mr. Bloomberg has frequently criticized in the past.
After two weeks of urging reporters to look past the scandal, Mr. Weiner was asked plenty of additional policy questions today. But he continued to respond to the fallout, including a dramatic, profanity-laced confrontation in Brooklyn last night and whether he would have the moral authority, if elected mayor, to use his bully pulpit and discipline city employees.
“Look,” Mr. Weiner responded, “I go to these subway stations because I kind of want to hear what people have to say. If they want to yell, if they want to ask me questions, if they want to yell at each other. I kind of like that stuff. I don’t think maybe you understand what it means to be mayor,” he argued, explaining it requires “engaging in those types of things, putting yourself in a position where people can say what they think.”
“Voters have different views on me, you might be surprised to learn,” he added. “I’m cool with that!”
Asked again whether he was pleased the press was actually asking him policy questions, he declined to put on his media-critic cap.
“I’m not going to get into this meta-echo chamber of questioning you,” he said. “You can focus on whatever you want and I’ll do the best I can to answer the questions.”
The mayor’s press secretary did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the remarks.