August 12th, 2013
09:12 PM ET
8 months ago

Weiner says scandal hurt wife 'professionally'; knows 2016 Clinton role

(CNN) – Anthony Weiner said Monday he believes his sexting scandals have damaged his wife's career and seemingly dropped a hint about Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential plans.

In a wide-ranging interview with BuzzFeed's Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith that was livestreamed exclusively on the "CNN BuzzFeed" channel on YouTube, Weiner also revealed that he's still in therapy but did not give further details on the frequency of his sessions.

Anthony Weiner's interview: The top moments

The New York City mayoral hopeful was frank in his answers about his recent admission that he continued sending lewd messages to women after the same habit forced his 2011 congressional resignation. His wife, Huma Abedin, famously spoke up for her husband at a news conference last month as he confirmed reports that he had engaged in online relationships as recently as last year.

'It's hurt her'

Abedin has long been a senior adviser and friend to Hillary Clinton. Asked Monday if he believes his actions may have negatively affected his wife's ties with the Clintons, Weiner said that he hasn't spoken with either Bill or Hillary Clinton in months, but he thinks his decisions have impacted his wife's career.

"I feel that what I've done has hurt her, yeah. It's hurt her professionally. It's hurt her personally," he said. "We made a decision that these things were behind us and we made a calculated gamble on the question of whether or not citizens would be more interested in their family's future than in my personal failings that are behind me. She's gotten roughed up, and it's been completely unfair in my view."

The Clintons grew "livid" over Weiner's July admission, anger that stemmed from their personal relationship with Abedin, a source told CNN last month.

While the Clintons have largely declined to publicly weigh in on the mayoral race, Bill Clinton told CNN he and his wife are "a hundred miles from that race" as long as their personal friends are involved. He was referring to other candidates, in addition to Weiner and his wife.

Weiner mocks British reporter

Nevertheless, Weiner said Abedin is still working on the campaign as she takes a break from working for Hillary Clinton, though he didn't go into great detail about her duties on the campaign trail.

Asked whether he knows what role she will have "in Hillary's 2016 campaign," Weiner said, "I do."

"What will it be?" Smith asked.

"I'm not telling you," Weiner replied, hinting that something may be in the works for a presidential bid.

What about Snapchat?

Weiner has previously talked about seeking treatment for his habit of exchanging raunchy messages with women and confirmed Monday he was still in therapy.

"Apparently you never go out of therapy. They just have this thing where you just remain in forever, but I still see a therapist sometimes," he said.

As for the frequency, Weiner did not give an exact account, saying he sees his therapist when he can, but argued it was "tough on the campaign trail."

Weiner's first TV ad: 'Powerful voices' against him

Sydney Leathers, the 23-year-old Indiana native who went public with her former relationship with Weiner, has taken full advantage of her moment in the spotlight, agreeing to nude photo shoots and tweeting out promoted messages.

She has also been highly critical of Weiner, saying he is lying about the last time the two communicated. While he has repeatedly said the sexual activity is in his past and last took place a year ago, she claims the two were last in touch in April of this year.

Weiner did not deny the April date, saying Monday that he sent her platonic messages but nothing inappropriate.

"I treated her like a friend," he said, adding they hadn't exchanged the lewd messages for a year.

Asked why Weiner did not use a messaging application called Snapchat - where messages and photos are deleted shortly after received - the mayoral candidate said: "I don't have a good answer to that."

Weiner: Ideas not getting across

In the lengthy interview, Weiner said he felt the coverage of his mayoral campaign has been "brutal" and argued the media has focused more on his scandal that the substantive messages he's trying to relay.

Weiner still toward back of pack, according to poll

But the candidate, who has vowed to stay in the race, said he's trying to demonstrate his ability "to stand up to do the tough things" - a quality he believes New Yorkers want in their mayor.

"For whatever my failings are, and they've been very public, I think I've shown that I don't back down very easily," he said, saying he hasn't canceled events or media interviews in light of his new admission in July.

Weiner maintained he was laser-focused on winning the race, despite recent poll numbers that show he has dropped behind three other Democratic contenders in the September 10 primary.

"I really do believe that I am the only person occupying this one lane in this race that is someone trying to construct this campaign in a different way," he said. Weiner added that he hasn't thought about what he'll do if he loses, as it's "not something you think about in the midst of a campaign you expect to win."

Driving the Gray Lady nuts

Weiner spent significant time bashing on one particular news outlet, The New York Times.

"The New York Times, wait for it, doesn't want me to win," he said. "Their heads are exploding over the idea."

While the New York Times Magazine published a lengthy profile about Weiner in April as he was privately gearing up for a campaign, the newspaper wrote an editorial in late July calling on the candidate to drop out of the race.

"I don't have fealty to them. I'm not treating a New York Times endorsement as an end to itself," Weiner said. "I don't care ... And it makes them nuts that I don't care."

Asked whether he thinks owner Arthur Sulzberger has a problem with Weiner, the Democrat said he couldn't pick Sulzberger "out of a lineup."

"He's alive right? That would be bad if he wasn't," he added.

Weiner also poked fun at BuzzFeed. Responding to a question about Weiner's relationship with comedian and "Daily Show" host John Stewart, the candidate said: "You can do this or show videos of cats–whatever it is you do at BuzzFeed."


Filed under: Anthony Weiner • New York
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. alan

    Tupac spelled backwards is Caput;
    and that's what Weiner's marriage and career is.
    He's through, so quit getting his opinion on anything.
    I can tell you that Hillary Clinton is definitely making a run at the presidency in 2016.
    It's what she's always wanted, and it's the reason she resigned as Secretary of State.
    It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know this.
    She's giving speeches on what her policies would be in the coming months to lay out her plan for her run at the presidency.

    August 13, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. mole man

    Here is the democratic ron paul

    August 13, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. Jerry

    Poor baby! You reap what you sow. The sad part is that my fellow Democrats have basically remained silent on the issue. Particularly Democratic women. Wow!!! I hope his dumb/faithful? wife is NOT stupid enough to back treasonous Ms. Hillary for president.

    After all, "what difference, at this point, does it make?!"

    August 13, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. theala

    I think you meant Mr. Oblivious.

    He just needs to shut UP. He has no brain to mouth filter . . . itself a good reason for him to leave public office before he humiliates his wife and family further (he can't embarrass himself, he has no shame).

    August 13, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. glk20c

    CNN: "Go Hillary! Go Hillary! We love you Hillary!"

    August 13, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. okay

    why is he news? are you trying in a muti-phase concerted effort to embarrass this country? Because you are succeeding famously.

    August 13, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. george

    how about that.......Anthony Weiner saying the treatment to his wife by the media has been unfair..........cynicism at his highest level.............Ok, new Yorkers, is this guy your kind of "leader"??????

    August 13, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. SmarterthanU

    The Sarah Palin of the Democratic party. Go away man! You're finished. Stop name dropping to stay relevant.

    August 13, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. asfdffff

    Heh heh this should be good.
    *popcorn*

    August 13, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. Scott

    Weiner is no different than Biden-A Gaffe machine and a gift that keeps on giving. These two never know when to shut up. Their ego won't let them.

    August 13, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. Ed FL

    Weiner should get One Vote ,and only if he is not in jail and cannot get to a voting booth. Do not know where or how he became a living person in this Country. Someone somewhere SCREWED up or hates this Country enough to put this BURDEN on the Country. What a loser. The Lord moves in mysterious ways, this turkey appears to be one of those mysteries.

    August 13, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  12. CindyR

    There is, of course, a simple reason why this guy won't drop out of the mayoral race even though it's quite clear he doesn't stand a chance. It's called "campaign donations'. He can, of course, solicit and keep any funds he gets from running for mayor and there are always people with money who don't mind donating to campaigns, it's a tax write off. He knows he can't win, he's in it for all the donations and campaign funds he can get as well as a tax write off himself.

    August 13, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  13. SR

    Isn't everybody about fed up with hearing the same old crap about this joker ? Hasn't the media had enough of a field day with it? Disgusting people do disgusting things... that does not mean it needs to become a long term media sensation- – I am sure there are more than enough good news worthy events and people on which 15 minutes would be better spent.

    August 13, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  14. Tom

    This guy is just a never-ending train wreck. If he wants to help his wife's career (and frankly she's the only one who still has one) he should just get out of this race and disappear until the end of Hillary's second term.

    August 13, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. ARdude

    The guy needs to dry up and go away. He's at the point now where he's causing good people a lot of embarrassment.

    August 13, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. onepercenter

    And CNN continues its love affair with immoral, corrupt politicians!

    August 13, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  17. Polar Bear

    Hurt his wife yet again by leaking Clinton's plans. He is the epitome of the ridiculous human being. Must be abuse syndrome that's keeping her around.

    August 13, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. Data Driven

    Hey CNN, how about more stories on people who will actually end up being the mayor of NYC, like Quinn or De Blasio, particularly the latter?

    August 13, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Rationalintn

    Huma, cut this guy loose before he completely destroys your career. His insatiable thirst for attention is his problem, so if he can't get it on his own he'll use his wife's connections to get it. He is sick. You are intelligent and successful on your own, and he's not going to change. Save yourself and your child, you can do better.

    August 13, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. Jen

    Please... if y'all will ignore him, he'll go away. This is just stupid, stupid crap that's not even news. Seriously, media... ignore him. He's an idiot.

    August 13, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. timelord7202

    And, as with Clinton, Mrs. Weiner will not leave Mr. Weiner. Arguably for the same reason(s).

    August 13, 2013 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  22. rschier

    At this point, can we say we've seen and heard enough of this weirdo ? He is totally irrelevant history at this point.

    August 13, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  23. Fred

    Ah! I don't think she has a role now Tony, thanks to you.

    August 13, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. tet1953

    Asked if Huma would have a role in "a" campaign, not "the" campaign. Nuanced, sure. Everyone knows that Hilliary will likely run, but it isn't announced.

    August 13, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. just saying

    yeah.... this weiner has never ever put his wife ahead of anything. she is stupid to stay with him. she should have dumped this narcicist long ago. if she stays with him her suffering will never end because as we have seen, it is all about the weiner.

    August 13, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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