The New York Post ran a story today about Representative Anthony Weiner missing a handful of votes in Congress because he was busy playing hockey in Manhattan.
Weiner has, at times, tried to make his passion for sports into a political asset, but this story was clearly trying to make it look like a liability, if kind of a small one.
Weiner's chief of staff, Marie Ternes, denied in the Post that her boss missed votes to play hockey. A schedule of upcoming games for Weiner's team shows they play in the evening, with the earliest games starting at 8:30 p.m., which is not usually when Congress is in session and voting. Other games begin at 10 p.m. or later.
Ternes said the story is a sign Weiner is still being targeted by Michael Bloomberg's campaign.
In an email to me, Ternes wrote:
“The false charge comes from the Bloomberg campaign. We also told the Post we wanted to use the following quote, ‘The source of this wholly inaccurate story is Mike Bloomberg's campaign. This is a political smear by a campaign that has been peddling untruths, it drives them crazy that Anthony plays hockey and has never missed votes to play hockey and has missed only five days in five years.’ The Post never denied the misleading smear job came from the Bloomberg campaign, and it clearly does."
After the story came out, Bloomberg’s campaign did point me to a video clip of Weiner discussing his love of hockey, although that isn't really news.
I asked Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker if, as Ternes asserted, the Bloomberg campaign was responsible for the story. Hazelbaker emailed only to say, "Relax."
When I pointed out that wasn't a denial, she emailed,
"The Congressman's right. We had a huge argument that day. I actually forced him to skip votes to come back and play hockey at Chelsea Piers. And I've been making him skip votes to play hockey for years…"
The reporter who wrote the story did not immediately return an email seeking comment.