After spending weeks trying to convince voters that his personal failings were behind him and touting forward-looking policy ideas, Anthony Weiner is now showcasing his past.
The former Congressman, who has often been accused of having a lackluster legislative record, has been using each day this week to showcase his most notable accomplishments. And, it seems the list is so lengthy that Mr. Weiner had to ask a campaign aide for help remembering them all.
“There was–uh–how could I not remember this week? What am I forgetting?” Mr. Weiner said, looking over to one of his aides as he ticked off the week’s four prior press conferences. Today’s focused on “A Career Fighting to Protect NYCHA Residents,” touting his record protecting residents in public housing.
Prior to the event, held outside East Harlem’s Thomas Jefferson public housing complex, Mr. Weiner approached resident Pearl Barkley to remind her that he had been the one who stood up to then-mayor Rudy Guiliani when her building went up in flames in 1995. NYCHA housing complexes painted with oil-based paint logged 20 hallway fires in the early 1990s. The city refused to acknowledge the problem continuing to use the incendiary product for years.
“As the subcommittee chairman of safety in the public housing,” Mr. Weiner began, “I … released a series of documents, got a hold of a lot of information that ultimately led the Guiliani administration to stop name-calling and stop finger-pointing [and] to eventually have to repaint these stair halls.”
Ms. Barkley had not forgotten the fire that ravaged her home 18 years ago. But her memory was fuzzy as to whether Mr. Weiner had shown up to assist.
“I don’t particularly remember,” Ms. Barkley told Politicker. “But I do remember the fire.”
Ms. Barkley said she’d “gotten good reports” on Mr. Weiner’s time as a councilman. Later, she said she wasn’t sure who she was voting, but favored City Comptroller John Liu.
The media presence at today’s event was noticeably smaller than it had been in the days following revelations about Mr. Weiner’s latest sexting scandal. But when Politicker asked Mr. Weiner whether he liked having the opportunity to connect with voters without all the cameras, he said that things hadn’t really changed.
“I imagine you cover things the same way whether there’s ten of your colleagues there or none of them there,” said Mr. Weiner. “Even in the midst of the most tumultuous moments of this campaign, where you were squeezed in between Malaysian and Australian TV cameras, I was still talking about ideas important to the middle class and those struggling to make it.”
As the Democratic primary approaches, Mr. Weiner remains in fourth place among his party rivals, notching support from only about 10 percent of likely Democratic voters in public polling. And despite once being the front-runner, his likelihood of making it to the expected runoff now appears slim.
But Mr. Weiner continued to be dismissive of the suggestion that he would not finish among the top two Democratic candidates.
“I only know one way to run a campaign,” he told reporters today. “And that is to not cut the electorate up into a pie and try to figure out what magic words I say to these individual groups to get me to 51 percent or 39 percent or whatever.”