August 9, 2013

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner sort-of gave an interview to Lucy Watson, the New York correspondent for UK broadcaster ITV. No analysis is possible here; the transcript tells the story, with the aid of a few footnotes.

Anthony Weiner
Anthony Weiner (Brendan McDermid / Reuters)

Weiner: This is what separates American media from British media.

Watson: Well, whilst we’re talking, then, it seems we’re walking along. How do you maintain such resilience in this campaign?

Weiner: [Addressing others:] It can’t be, want to be — sorry about that guys, I’m handing it to the wrong person. Laura, or someone, can I just take this. [Now addressing Watson:] What do you mean? If you want to be the mayor of the city of New York, you gotta work hard [fidgets, puts pen in his shirt pocket].

Watson: And you’ve got to fight.

Weiner: K.* [continues fidgeting, this time obsessively tucking in his blue shirt]

Watson: What about what’s going on in your personal life then, how do you deal with that, when you’ve been confronted and you’ve been so exposed…

Weiner, interrupting question and acknowledging someone else: How you doing, my friend. Nice to see you, thank you, brother.

Watson: How do you carry on, when what’s gone on in your personal life?

Weiner: I guess you must be under the impression this is supposed to be easy. It’s not. I’m fighting** for a tough job, that requires a lot of toughness when you’re on the job. So, this is the way I’d want it to be.

Watson: Is it ambition, is it hunger for the big job, the power?

Weiner: It’s hard to take you seriously. No, it has to do with wanting to be mayor of the city of New York. And wanting to help the middle class and those struggling to make it. [more tucking in at this point]

Watson: What is is that you want to do…

Weiner, interrupting question and speaking in an accent that mocks Watson’s: Or the hunger for the big job. Or the hunger for the big job. [noting someone else:] Hello. Uh, why don’t you go to my website, anthonyweiner.com. I want to fight for the middle class and those struggling to make it.

Watson: Would anything stop you?

Weiner: [Laughs and turns cheek] I just have a feeling I’ve, like, stepped into a Monty Python bit. I don’t know, would anything stop me? Now is a rock going to fall on my head? No, nothing’s going to stop me. I’m going to win this election.

Watson: What makes you so sure you’re going to win this election? What can you give these people, of New York?

Weiner: I’m going to work hard for them. I’ve got better ideas, I come from a better place, I’m building a campaign on ideas for the middle class and those struggling to make it and every single day I’m fighting*** to show them that I want their support. Look at me, when I started this campaign I was 6’9″ 240 lbs., is all that’s left of me. By the time I’m done with this campaign I’m going to slide under the door at Gracie Mansion. Anything else I can do for ITV, you want me to do the weather or something?

Watson: If you can do the weather, you can do the weather for me.

Weiner: Where is it from, this is in England?

Watson: Well, you can do the weather here in New York if you’d like.

Weiner: No, no, no, I’ll do yours instead. It’s going to be raining, cloudy and gray, so do what you can, guys. Try to keep your head up, keep a stiff — what is it? — stiff upper lip. All right, take care now.

Watson: Very good, thank you very much for your time, Mr. Weiner.

Weiner: You’re very welcome. You’re very welcome.

*Here, Weiner gives a standoffish response to the suggestion by Watson that he has to “fight” to become mayor of New York City. As if he bristles at the suggestion. Yet at two other points in the interview, he volunteers that he’s fighting for the people of New York City.

**Here, Weiner volunteers that he’s fighting, even though he took umbrage at that suggestion earlier in the interview.

***Here, Weiner volunteers that he’s fighting, even though he took umbrage at that suggestion earlier in the interview.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.