The highs and lows of Anthony Weiner’s BuzzFeed interview

August 13, 2013

When Buzzfeed first scheduled its August interview with Anthony Weiner, he was leading the polls in the New York mayoral race. Monday, when Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith sat down with Weiner, things were much different.

The past few weeks have seen a major drop in polls after Weiner confessed to yet another online relationship with a woman who is not his wife. While Weiner attempted to tout his ideas for the city, he remained mostly on the defensive during the BuzzFeed interview, either ducking or colliding with questions that begged for some sort of gaffe or breakdown.

Here are the highs and lows from the interview in chronological order.

HIGHS

1. Weiner admitted the hilarity of it all

"The notion that I was a victim of late-night comics or a victim of someone else.  Look, I did these things. They were embarrassing. The jokes clearly write themselves."

2. He discussed media hypocrisy

"For all intents and purposes, substance in politics doesn't get covered in a campaign like this," Weiner said, launching into an example of NBC's coverage of his stop-and-frisk policy. "The point is not that maybe they should have covered the crime speech to begin with but at the very least show a little bit of fidelity to what's going on."

3. Weiner talked policy, specifically stop-and-frisk

"The outcome certainly does appear to be racial in nature."

4. Expressed respect toward (nameless) colleagues

"I've given wide berth to my colleagues in public life because I know I've got a lot to prove to them as well."

5. Acknowledged his party's faults

"Democrats haven't won someone for mayor in the city of New York for 24 years. And why is that? Because we don't deserve to win. We round up every institution we can find, line up as many Democratic organizations as we can, pose with famous people on the steps of City Hall, and then we think we've got a campaign. But for most citizens, that's not what they're looking for."

6. One good joke

Smith asked Weiner "if lightning strikes," which candidate would he support other than himself.

"If lightning strikes me?" Weiner inquired. "That would be the only bad luck thing that hasn't happened in the campaign," he said to the crowd.

LOWS

1. Made fun of Buzzfeed

"You can do this or show videos of cats or whatever it is you do at Buzzfeed."

2. Getting flustered

Smith: "Are there gonna be more scandals?"

Weiner (in the middle of a point): "Secondly,-- er, was I --- can I, did I, just -- I have more than one -- can I just finish?"

3. Getting more flustered

Smith: "Why not use Snapchat?"

Weiner: "I don't have a good answer to that."

4. Repeating bad jokes

"The first thing I'm going to do is tear out your -- this is the Internet, right? -- [expletive] bike lanes," Weiner repeated from an exchange between him and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I).

5. Awkward attempts at creating a joke

Weiner: "I was gonna do an 'LOL' reference. What do you guys do?"

Smith: "I'm glad you prepared the zingers."

Weiner: "I was, I was not prepared."

Smith, looking down: "You're always prepared."

6. Hubris

When asked which other candidates he would support, Weiner responded with "I can't imagine supporting anyone since I'm going to be the candidate."

7. Hating on the New York Times

"The New York Times -- wait for it -- doesn't want me to win," said Weiner. "Their heads are exploding over the idea. ... They go and write stories about the campaign dedicated to the color of my pants. I don't care. It makes them nuts that I don't care."

On Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times: "I actually couldn't pick him out of a lineup," Weiner said. "He is alive, right?" he added with a wide-eyed stare and an exaggerated frown.

Ruth Tam is a writer based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter: @ruthetam.
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Ruth Tam · August 13, 2013