Former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who was forced to resign after sending out a lewd picture of himself via Twitter, has announced that he's considering a run for New York City mayor.
According to an interview in The New York Times Magazine, published online Wednesday morning and in print next Sunday, Weiner's political committee has already spent more than $100,000 on polling and research.
The polling showed that New Yorkers were willing to forgive his 2011 misdeeds, but voters also wanted to know what the disgraced congressman has done to get over his scandalous past.
The in-depth interview by Jonathan Van Meter, which focuses on Weiner and his publicity-averse wife Huma Abedin, appears to be the beginning of a mea culpa campaign back to a seat of power.
“I don’t have this burning, overriding desire to go out and run for office,” Weiner said. “It’s not the single animating force in my life as it was for quite some time. But I do recognize, to some degree, it’s now or maybe never for me, in terms of running for something. I’m trying to gauge not only what’s right and what feels comfortable right this second, but I’m also thinking, How will I feel in a year or two years or five years? Is this the time that I should be doing it? And then there’s the other side of the coin, which is . . . am I still the same person who I thought would make a good mayor?”
For those who may have forgotten, on May 27, 2011, Weiner posted a photo of his crotch on Twitter, directed to a user identified as 21-year-old Gennette Cordova. Weiner quickly removed the image and claimed in a subsequent tweet that he had been hacked.
Less than two weeks after the story erupted, Weiner admitted that he sent the original photo. He also confessed to several other inappropriate relationships, and apologized to his family and constituents. Weiner resigned 20 days after sending the photo.
Will this new come-clean profile help Weiner's cause? It's possible, particularly since the story carefully mentions how the couple met in 2001 when Abedin was working as a senior adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton. If voters begin to connect the Clintons' own successful efforts to overcome scandal with Weiner and Abedin's situation, perhaps he will have a political future after all.
"…I want to ask people to give me a second chance," Weiner said. "I do want to have that conversation with people whom I let down and with people who put their faith in me and who wanted to support me. I think to some degree I do want to say to them, ‘Give me another chance.'"
To qualify for public funding this year, Weiner will have to officially declare his candidacy by June 10. Now political gadflies are wondering: If Abedin can forgive him for the sexting scandal, maybe the voters will as well.
Click here to read the interview.