Weiner Returns to City Hall

Anthony Weiner could have held his press conference about federal health care legislation anywhere he wanted on Sunday. He held it in front of City Hall.

There’s been no shortage of finger-pointing among Democrats over who’s really to blame for not helping Bill Thompson in his unexpectedly close loss to Michael Bloomberg. Weiner himself has come under fire for criticizing the White House’s conspicuously insignificant role in the race. But Weiner himself is not in a particularly good position to point fingers at Democrats for not joining the fight, having dropped out of the race in May, citing his work in Washington and Bloomberg’s unlimited campaign spending.

Yesterday, Weiner said the health care bill the House narrowly approved validates his decision to drop out of the mayor’s race to focus on Congress.

“I think that I made the right decision, especially on a day like today–I would have been more than a little tormented being on the campaign trail running a campaign. I would have liked watching all of these things go on” in Washington, Weiner said.

As for Thompson, Weiner said, “I thought the state party didn’t do nearly enough to help him. I did everything I could,” and “I don’t think the president did as much as I would have liked him to.”

Weiner–who outperformed expectations as a mayoral candidate in 2005 and later told donors he was “in the driver’s seat for ’09” – declined to say whether Thompson was a favorite for the next mayor’s race.

“Look. I was surprised last time how quickly the next campaign began. This is really, this is–we’re not even a week out. I think first and foremost he deserves credit for running a good campaign and deserves a little time off. But Billy has to answer for his own plans.”

Weiner did a few more television interviews about health care, standing in front of City Hall. Before leaving, I asked him what he thought of David Paterson’s prospects. Paterson, the embattled governor, has just begun airing campaign ads, admitting his troubled standing in the polls but vowing to forge ahead.

“I want to see what everyone wants to see what everyone else wants to see, which is that Governor Paterson can win,” said Weiner. “I want to see him do better.”

“But I think it is too early in the season to make the determinations whether or not he’s going to be successful. That’s the final determinant for many of us. We just want to win, baby.”

I asked Weiner when he thought it would be too late for Paterson to prove himself.

“March 17,” he said, dryly. “I don’t know. I don’t know.” Weiner Returns to City Hall