NEW YORK-- Anthony Weiner received a rousing reception at a mayoral forum Tuesday, despite the efforts of his opponents to drudge up his latest sexting scandal.
"I would contrast my values with Anthony Weiner any day of the week," said GOP hopeful George McDonald, referring to recent revelations about the former congressman's sexually charged online exchanges.
The crowd responded with loud boos.
"You don't want me to talk? Fine, that's more time for this glib narcissist," McDonald said of Weiner.
And when John Liu quipped at the end of his closing statement that he "doesn't take pictures of himself," the crowd broke into laughs, but also disapproving groans.
The audience's apparent enthusiasm for Weiner during the AARP forum, hosted at Hunter College on the Upper East Side, wasn't just limited to defending him from attacks based on his sexting scandals.
People erupted into cheers when Weiner said, "We should make Medicare for all New Yorkers. It's a system that works."
The applause grew so raucous that the moderator had to ask the crowd to quiet down.
"I'm cool with them clapping," Weiner said.
Weiner managed to solicit boisterous applause from the crowd more often than the other candidates at the forum.
After noting statistics showing that rent in New York City has climbed 20 percent in the past few years, Weiner asked, "Has your social security gone up by 20 percent?" Again, the older crowd burst into applause.
"It's their party that's standing in the way of [immigration] reform," Weiner said of the GOP candidates on the stage.
"We want you here," he said about undocumented immigrants who obey laws and work. Applause for Weiner's immigration stance, however, didn't come until he said he'd "throw out" any undocumented immigrant who "breaks the law" or "cheats."
As the discussion veered away from topics focused on senior citizens, enthusiasm for Weiner died down. He received more lukewarm responses to his positions on issues like stop-and-frisk practices.
Despite Weiner's welcome reception, the latest poll has him in fourth place behind Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio, and Bill Thompson.
The forum got off to a dramatic start Tuesday when Green Party candidate Tony Gronowicz seized control of the microphone and said he was ready "to get arrested" if he wasn't allowed to participate in the forum. He was not allowed to participate, and was escorted off the premises by security.