Joyce Purnick recalls Weiner’s first race for City Council in 1991, when he admitted to circulating an anonymous and racially-tinged flyer, criticizing his opponent for supporting the “Dinkins/Jackson agenda. Do you?”
Purnick said the New York Times nearly withdrew their endorsement of the then 27-year-old candidate, but didn’t. “He apologized profusely,” recalls Purnick, who was a member of the editorial board at the time.
The story of Weiner’s racial flyer came back into circulation in 2009, as he was preparing for a possible Democratic primary against Bill Thompson, the then-city comptroller who is African-American. A Democratic operative, Taharka Robinson, handed me a New York Post story about the flyer, while I waited outside a meeting of the Brooklyn Democratic County Organization one night.
The 20-year-old story, which is not online, quotes Weiner explaining why he didn’t want his name on the flyer.
“I didn’t want to confuse the messenger with the message,” and “I have no problem with being associated with it.”