Anthony Weiner’s rocky restart

Anthony Weiner announced late Tuesday that he would run for mayor of New York.  He's received a lot of attention in his first few days back in politics. But much of it hasn't been the good kind.


(Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Since kicking off his bid for political redemption, the former congressman, who resigned from the House after sending lewd photos to women online has quickly run into some speed bumps.

On Thursday, there was the revelation that Weiner's campaign Web site included an image of a city skyline. No, not the iconic New York City skyline, but the slightly less iconic Pittsburgh skyline. A campaign technology company took the blame, but scores of headlines about the incident swiftly spread across the Internet. Damage done.

Then there was Syracuse Post-Standard's conversation with popular Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who weighed in on the race. What if Weiner wins, asked the paper. "Shame on us," replied Cuomo, who, to reiterate, is the DEMOCRATIC governor of the state. The governor's office says he was joking (uh huh) but the fact that the humor wasn't immediately clear wasn't helpful to Weiner. The paper's editorial board has said that readers can judge the hilarity of the comment for themselves.

And in one of his first interviews since announcing his campaign, Weiner said that more women may come forward with new photos or e-mails from his online interactions with them before he left the House.

“It is what it is,” Weiner told WNYC-FM. (Worst phrase ever!) “People may decide they want to come forward and say, here’s another email that I got or another photo. I’m certainly not going to do that. So people may hear things that are true, they may hear things that are not true, but I’m going to try to keep being focused on issues that are important to New York City.”

It wasn't a new disclaimer. (Weiner said essentially the same thing in an interview conducted before announcing his campaign.) And he also talked about many policy issues during the interview. But the remark was a reminder of the fact that Weiner's downfall could still be an issue in the campaign, even if the former congressman wants to put it completely behind him.

Now, as we have written, one of Weiner's goals -- in fact, we believe it to be his main goal -- is to use this mayoral bid as a way to sort of wash himself clean from his past transgressions in order to better position himself for future bids.

Seen through that lens, all of the attention Weiner is helping him work toward his final goal. But for a candidate who also may entertain the possibility -- albeit it remote -- that he might wind up as the city's next mayor, Weiner had a rough first week.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Chris Cillizza | May 24, 2013