"It's in our rearview mirror, but it's not far," former New York Representative Anthony Weiner said in a hastily called news conference Tuesday, where he confirmed that he continued to send sexual images of himself to female fans for more than a year after he resigned from Congress. He admitted he did not stop until last summer.
Weiner has every right to run for mayor of New York City. But, given these latest embarrassing revelations, why does he want to expose (pardon the pun) himself and his family to such painful humiliation? Does he really think he is worthy of leading America's greatest city?
On Tuesday, The Dirty, a website that is a self-described purveyor of gossip, reported it had spoken with a 22-year-old woman, whom it did not name, who described her sexual communications with Weiner. She said they discussed explicit sexual acts and that he sent her a picture of his penis. Later, Weiner requested that she delete their chats, admitting that, "I'm deeply flawed."
In a statement released before his news conference Tuesday, Weiner said, "While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong." He would not specify what things were not true at his news conference. "I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out and today they have," Mr. Weiner told reporters. "I want to again say that I am very sorry to anyone who was on the receiving end of these messages and the disruption this has caused."
Weiner's admission runs counter to a narrative that such unseemly incidents were well behind him. In fact, they continued until just a few months before he announced his mayoral candidacy. In that announcement, Weiner asked New Yorkers for a "second chance to work for you."
At Weiner's Tuesday news conference, his wife, Huma Abedin, a long-time aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, joined him. Ms. Abedin put on a brave face as she watched Weiner speak. She then read a statement to reporters, "Anthony's made some horrible mistakes, both before he resigned from Congress and after." She added, "We discussed all of this before Anthony decided he would run for mayor, so really what I want to say is, I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him."
Despite her reassurances, and her admission that their marriage had its ups and downs, the question is will New York City voters believe in Weiner. He lied when news of the sexting scandal first broke two years ago. He attacked reporters at the time for raising the issue. He then misled New Yorkers by giving the impression that the incidents had ceased when he resigned from Congress. They hadn't.
Weiner is a bright and energetic figure. He is a passionate spokesman for the middle class, for gay rights and health care. Recent polls have put him in the lead among the Democratic candidates for mayor, who will face off in a primary on September 5. But Tuesday's revelations will hurt his candidacy.
For sure, Weiner does not suffer from a lack of chutzpah. That is a characteristic that is normally appealing to New Yorkers. But it is clear that Weiner is flawed. He lacks good judgment and he has consistently failed to be fully truthful.
In a campaign appearance following his Tuesday news conference, Weiner told his audience that he was the only candidate who could "shake things up." He is right. But to what end, Mr. Weiner?