Weiner Running For Mayor, But Not Campaigning

Weiner has raised $6.7 million for his campaign, the maximum allowable by law

Anthony Weiner is running for mayor of New York City but he won't start campaigning for "awhile."

Still, Weiner sure sounded like he was campaigning Monday morning at a breakfast forum held by the good government group Citizens Action.

And he's already maxed out his campaign cash.

In both a speech and in answering questions, Weiner repeatedly bashed Mayor Michael Bloomberg for being part of and beholden to the city's business and political elite.

"It was a naked power grab," Weiner said of Bloomberg's "backroom deal" with the City Council to override the city's term limits law in order to allow the mayor to run for a third term.

Weiner ran for mayor in 2005 as the defender of the non-Manhattan middle class and he seems poised to repeat that theme in 2009. He said it's exactly what America responded to with Barack Obama last year and New Yorkers are more ready for that message now than they were last time.

Weiner said Bloomberg's administration has stifled government reform and systematically starved new ideas.

He argues that in using so much political capital to get the term limits law overthrown Bloomberg has put at risk his "singular" achievement -- mayoral control of the schools.

Weiner said Albany is likely to be far less receptive to renewing school control this year as a result of the term limits repeal.

As for his biggest Democratic opponent Comptroller Bill Thompson, Weiner only said the campaign should be about new ideas, suggesting Thompson has been short on that score.

So what are Weiner's big ideas? He wants to put most of city government on the Internet so people know how and where tax dollars are being spent. He said fast-rising health care and pension costs can be controlled through better use of the health care infrastructure and by changing the way pensions for newer employees are structured.

But when asked what alternatives he had to the Ravitch Commission proposal to toll the East River bridges in order to fund the MTA, Weiner talked about efficiencies and selling off real estate, neither of which budget analysts say would even big to replace the revenue from bridge tolls.

Weiner also said he will report having already raised the maximum permissible under the campaign finance rules ($6.7 million) after a series of low-contribution fundraisers in the five boroughs on Sunday.

So when will the campaign start if not now?

"Mayor Bloomberg has said June and that sounds about right," Weiner said.

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