Anthony Weiner speaks with NBC 4 New York's Andrew Siff for a one-on-one interview, asking for forgiveness from his constituents. This is the first segment in a three-part interview. Watch more of the interview here.
Former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner appeared to take a closer step toward a mayoral bid on Wednesday, hinting in an apology-laden interview with NBC 4 New York that there could be more revelations about his 2011 sexting scandal and expressing hope that New Yorkers would “give me a second chance.”
Weiner seemed to be preparing the public for the possibility of more allegations about his online relationships with women, which first came to light in the spring of 2011 when he accidentally tweeted a photo of his underpants.
He said Wednesday he had already come clean about what he'd done, but left open the possibility that women who haven't yet come forward to talk about their online relationships with him could decide to speak publicly about it any time.
“Some things may come out that are true,” Weiner said. “Some things are not."
He did not elaborate on what those things might be.
"But here’s what I try to do to draw the line," he continued. "Basically, New Yorkers know the story. I did it. I did it with multiple people. These things were wrong and inappropriate, and I never should have been dishonest about it. They played out in the most public and embarrassing way possible. And that’s it."
Weiner, 47, resigned from his Brooklyn congressional seat in June 2011 after using Twitter to send provocative photos of himself to women. When the exchanges became public, he claimed he’d been hacked. He eventually confessed and went into virtual hiding with his wife, Huma Abedin, a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. At the time, Abedin was pregnant with their first child.
"That’s what people need to know, and that’s where I stand, and I own that completely," Weiner said. "And it’s something that I’m going to work with for a long time.”
His comments to NBC 4 New York came in the first of three interviews with local media outlets on Wednesday, an effort that can be viewed as another way of inching toward joining the crowded field of Democratic primary candidates.
An NBC New York/Marist College poll this month found that if Weiner jumped into the race, he would get 15 percent of Democratic votes, vaulting him straight into second place behind City Council Speaker Christine Quinn but still far from what he’d need to avoid a runoff.
As a congressman, Weiner was known for his fiery personality, and one particularly passionate speech on the House floor during a debate on a bill that would expand health benefits for the victims of 9/11. Recalling that moment on Wednesday, Weiner said that while he’d stepped away from public life for two years, he hadn’t lost that gusto.
“Anger like that, passion like that, I hope that if I get a chance to come back I won’t lose that,” he said.
Asked when he was going to announce whether he would run, Weiner replied, “It’s a matter of days —maybe weeks —but not more.”
Weiner said that in 2011 he’d ignored supporters’ pleas not to resign because his top priority was, and remains, to repair his marriage.
He and Abedin have a 15-month old son. She has forgiven him, Weiner said, but he added that they still talk about it and he’ll probably be apologizing to her “for the rest of my life.”
Weiner said he still had a lot of forgiveness to seek of many other people, including his former constituents and the reporters he lied to. But he also said he hoped that his transgressions would not define his life and career.
“I guess I want to be viewed through the full continuum of what people know about me, no one particular chapter,” he said.
He said he wanted to be remembered for his efforts on health care reform, protecting the Rockaways before Hurricane Sandy hit, trying to curb hunger among New York children, and trying to lower taxes on the middle class.
“These are things that I worked on and I think should be part of people’s judgment,” Weiner said. "I guess all I’m saying is, for the time being, is just take a second look. And give me a second chance.”
Weiner has long desired to be mayor. He ran in 2005, and nearly forced a runoff against Fernando Ferrer, but conceded in the name of party solidarity. He planned to run again in 2009, and was considered a leading contender, but dropped out after Mayor Bloomberg chose to run for a third term.
Prior to his unraveling, Weiner had begun to plan for a 2013 campaign. He still has more than $4 million in his campaign account.
In recent weeks, Weiner has been making slow steps toward another mayoral run. He commissioned an internal poll in March to gauge what voters thought of him. He granted a series of intimate interviews with The New York Times Magazine, which resulted in a cover story that detailed his efforts to repair his marriage and decide whether to pursue his political dream. He released a policy booklet that was similar to one he distributed in anticipation of running in 2009. And he has slowly started giving interviews to the local media.
Weiner has also returned to Twitter, albeit under a new handle, @anthonyweiner, instead of the doomed former handle, @repweiner.
He said he’d watch himself much better this time.
“This isn’t like some kind of addiction or anything,” he said. “It was something I did that was very thoughtless and very dumb. I’m not thoughtless about it anymore, believe me.”