Weiner, Back Then, on Why He’s Cut Out to Be a Mayor

Yesterday, Anthony Weiner said that he’s so busy focusing on his work in Congress that he’ll have to reconsider at a later time whether or not to continue running for mayor.

But at a January 12, 2009 breakfast hosted by Citizens Union, Weiner offered a slightly different analysis about the pros and cons of remaining in Congress versus being in City Hall. After ticking off some issues like housing and crime that he could focus on in Washington, he said, “I think that I can do better as mayor.”

The question-and-answer comes at around the 32-minute mark on this New York University podcast.

“Isn’t it possible the city needs you and your seniority in Congress even more than in City Hall?” Weiner was asked.

Here’s Weiner’s response:

“Well, I just want to reiterate one thing. Maybe it’s a difference without a distinction, but I think I should say it again. You know, I think there is a difference between advocating for ideas, talking about the things we should be doing and being in a campaign mode. You know, what I’m looking to do first and foremost is to be in Washington to solve the problems we’re confronted with. Doing the job that I have today as well as I can to help the city be a success, including, as I said in my remarks, helping Mayor Bloomberg be a success.

“But if it comes down to the question of why would I rather be mayor than to be a member of Congress, I‘ll tell you. You know, I, everyday, am thinking and animated by how you solve the problems of the city that I love. I could probably pass a law to change that finger-imaging—fingerprint requirement to say that you can’t have it anymore. We were successful—you can waive out of it, thanks to federal legislation. If I was the mayor of the City of New York, I can do it with a phone call.

“If I am concerned about the future of the middle class, and these five boroughs, if I’m concerned about the increase in public housing, and the way that we deal with housing and the way that we deal with crime and security in this city, I can do a great deal in Washington.

“And I can do it with three yards and a cloud of dust and there’s nothing wrong with it. But I believe that the ability that I would have as the mayor of the City of New York to make those changes, make them now and to deal with the challenges that confront New York City—um—I think that I can do better as mayor.

“But I do have to tell you this, it’s not like I’m just looking for something to run for. I might be the only person in Congress who doesn’t want to be a senator. I believe I have the second-best job imaginable, right now. And I’m going to work very hard to do it.

“And for people who watched me in 2005, you watched me do a pretty darn good job in Washington, run back after work, I missed debates, I missed candidate forums, I didn’t sacrifice my job in Washington. And I’m still going to be there for another year.”

Weiner, Back Then, on Why He’s Cut Out to Be a Mayor