July 24th, 2013
09:04 AM ET
10 years ago

Calls for 'Carlos Danger' to withdraw pour in

Updated 5:09 p.m. ET, 7/24

(CNN) - It didn't take long for the calls to come in for Anthony Weiner to withdraw from the New York City mayoral contest following his shocking admission Tuesday that he sent lusty messages more than a year after resigning from Congress for the same dubious habits.

But Weiner said Wednesday that his fate will ultimately be up to the voters.

"That's for the citizens to decide," he told reporters outside of his apartment.

"And you know I'm fine," he added. "I've got an amazing wife, and a child upstairs. I have a comfortable life. This is not about me, this is about the fact that the middle class has people struggling to make it in this city."

The editorial board of the New York Times urged Weiner to take his personal struggles "out of the race for mayor of New York City." The New York Post belittled him as "Carlos the Jerkel," a reference to Weiner's use of the online alias "Carlos Danger." And pundits wondered how someone who had shown such poor judgment was even in the race.

BORGER: Why Anthony Weiner's problem is ours, too

In an extraordinary news conference, Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, pleaded Tuesday for voters to forgive the embattled candidate, as his wife says she has forgiven him. Weiner also reminded the public that he warned at the beginning of his campaign in May that more photos and texts could emerge.

But the Times editorial board didn't buy it.

"That's ridiculous and speaks to a familiar but repellent pattern of misleading and evasion," the board wrote. "It's up to Mr. Weiner if he wants to keep running, to count on voters to forgive and forget and hand him the keys to City Hall. But he has already disqualified himself."

PHOTOS: Weiner addresses lewd exhanges

His press conference remarks came hours after screenshots of sexually explicit conversations and photographs appeared on a gossip website that alleged the communications were between Weiner and a young woman last summer, just as Weiner and his wife were beginning to reemerge from their private lives for public interviews.

"Some of these things happened before my resignation, some happened after," Weiner said at the hastily organized press conference in New York.

Another prominent newspaper, the New York Daily News, also released a scathing editorial, listing lie after lie by the former congressman.

"He is not fit to lead America's premier city," stated the editorial, titled "Why Weiner must go". "Lacking the dignity and discipline that New York deserves in a mayor, Weiner must recognize that his demons have no place in City Hall."

READ MORE: Huma Abedin, a Hillary Clinton adviser, emerges from privacy to spotlight

Rupert Murdoch, who owns the New York Post, tweeted "Weiner almost tragic if not so funny. What a sicko. Should help city by just fading away."

Weiner argued Wednesday that his decision to run for mayor was "the right thing to do for the city," and voters have bigger issues on their minds than his personal mistakes.

"Look I know there are people who may well never consider voting for me because what's in my past. And even for those people I want them to hear about my ideas," he said. "At the end of the day citizens are more interested in the challenges they face in their lives than anything that I have done embarrassing in my past."

And as Weiner predicted, some of his opponents for the mayoral nomination also urged the contender to drop out.

"Enough is enough. I'm calling on Anthony to withdraw from this race – for the good of the city that I know he loves as much as all of us," tweeted Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. He also started an online petition urging others to call on Weiner to end his campaign.

Two other candidates, John Catsimatidis and Sal Albanese, tweeted similar pushes for Weiner to step aside.

Weiner's closest rival, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, wrote in a statement that Weiner's candidacy had turned the mayoral race into a "circus."

"Being the Mayor of New York is serious business and it demands a serious leader. Instead we have seen a pattern of reckless behavior, consistently poor judgment, and difficulty with the truth," she wrote.

But Weiner has implied he plans to do anything but leave the contest in the weeks leading up to the Democratic primary election on September 10.

"You know there have been people since the moment I got in the race that didn't want me to run," he said Wednesday. "But a lot of people have been crying out for someone to talk about issues important to the middle class."

TIMELINE: Congress, lewd photos and NYC's mayoral race: An Anthony Weiner

In a lengthy email to supporters later Wednesday, he declared: "New Yorkers don't quit, and I'll never quit on you."

Weiner resigned his House seat in 2011 after first lying about, then admitting to sending lewd photographs and images to multiple women. In the email to supporters, he said he "answered every question about these mistakes" before and after announcing his run for mayor this year, but expressed regret that he did not specify "when these exchanges happened."

Unlike his public resignation two years ago, Abedin spoke up for her husband Tuesday at the press conference, saying she has moved past her husband's addiction and urged others to do the same.

"What I want to say is I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and as I have said from the beginning, we are moving forward," said Abedin, a longtime senior adviser to Hillary Clinton, adding that Weiner had made some "horrible mistakes, both before he resigned from Congress, and after."

John Avlon, senior political columnist for The Daily Beast and CNN contributor, argued Abedin is simply following the model set by Hillary Clinton.

"Part of the Clinton playbook is success heals all wounds. Let's just win and all this tawdry mess will be in the rearview mirror," he said on CNN's "New Day."

READ MORE: 'Women for Anthony' hope to boost Weiner mayoral bid

Weiner argued he had changed.

"This behavior is behind me. I've apologized to Huma and am grateful that she has worked through these issues with me and for her forgiveness," he said Tuesday.

But his words were not convincing for the New York chapter of the National Organization for Woman, which quickly called on Weiner to withdraw from the race following his press conference.

"As if we didn't already have enough evidence of Anthony Weiner's utter lack of judgment, impulse control and honesty, these latest revelations show the degree to which his candidacy distracts us from the important business of choosing the next leader of New York City," Sonia Ossorio, the president of the group, wrote in a statement.

The chat messages purporting to be from Weiner were published on the website TheDirty.com. The post cited a "solid" source alleging Weiner engaged in lewd online conversations with her, and reproduced lengthy chats that were sexual in nature. A blurred photo of what alleges to be Weiner's crotch also appeared on the site.

"I just want people to really know he's lying when he acts like he has changed," the unnamed woman, 22, told TheDirty.

REACTION: New Yorkers react to Weiner sexting scandal with jokes, calls to drop out

In his email to supporters Wednesday, Weiner said the exchange was "a terrible mistake that I unfortunately returned to during a rough time in our marriage."

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, another disgraced politician trying to make a comeback, said Weiner's new controversy is between him and his wife.

"Look I'm running my own campaign and I have been since the day I got into this and so I have no comment about other than I'm gonna be talking to the voters about what I have done, what my plans are and will be going forward with my premise," he said Wednesday morning at a campaign stop, according to CNN affiliate NY1.

A source close to Spitzer told CNN the candidate is not overly concerned with the Weiner controversy.

"We think that voters have already separated Spitzer and Weiner in their minds," the source said, pointing to numbers in a recent Quinnipiac poll, adding the latest controversy provides an opportunity for Spitzer to continue to make his "individual" case.

Spitzer resigned as New York governor in 2008 after admitting to paying prostitutes for sex.

READ MORE: Has the road to political redemption gotten shorter?

The verdict is still out on whether Weiner will survive the latest firestorm. Polls taken over the past several weeks have shown Weiner either slightly ahead of his closest rival for the Democratic mayoral nomination, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, or trailing her in second place.

"He's been campaigning asking for a second chance. Now today he's asking for a third chance," Avlon said Wednesday morning. "That's fundamentally different in what the voters are being asked."

Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and CNN commentator, said Weiner's latest admission will put him even farther under water with women voters.

"I don't claim to be a thermometer for the women vote, but I can tell you it'd be hard for me to vote for a guy who's now made his wife endure this kind of public humiliation," she said.

The calls for Weiner to step down were familiar refrains from Weiner's first scandal in 2011, when a tsunami of criticism engulfed Weiner, with few of his fellow Democrats coming to his side. After a few weeks resisting such calls, he ultimately resigned while confessing to the indiscretions.

In the run-up to his mayoral bid, which he launched in May, he said more photos could emerge.

"If reporters want to go and try to find more, I can't say they're not going to be able to find another picture, find another person who may want to come out on their own," he told RNN Television. "But I'm not going to contribute to that. The basics of the story are not going to change. It's behind me. It was a huge mistake."

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Filed under: Anthony Weiner • New York
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. spockmckoy

    We don't care about your past, present, future - as long as you aren't in ours..........

    July 24, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Justbreythe

    If he lies to his wife....he'll lie to the world. This is the biggest kind of creep. He sees himself in grandeur and cannot imagine anything less. He will lie because he does not believe telling a lie is wrong. He has a smooth way of making you believe and buy into the lies....and he has lived this way all of his life. Probably the baby of the family and perhaps the only son. Creep of the worst kind.....and people will forgive him and vote for him....his wife is a tool to get him where he wants to be...nothing more and he will lie about anything as long as it is for his benefit. Creep

    July 24, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. TMan

    I think we've seen enough weiner for now.

    July 24, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. PghBob

    Oh come on, the long line of women accusing Bill Clinton of all kids of infidelities was largely ignored (pre-Lewinsky).
    If you can elect an immoral hamster like Bill Clinton to two terms, why not the Wiener? We, the electorate, are so easily fooled and manipulated into voting for snakes and idiots that we deserve it. Yeah, run to the polls and vote the ticket people because you are such sheep.
    You all deserve to be governed by The Wiener. Wiener for President!!!!!

    July 24, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. sharkguitar

    If elected, Carlos Danger vows he will be the greatest Mayor NYC has ever had. He "knows" voters don't care that he is a creepy pervert. He needs to be booted out of the Democratic Party! Huma needs to "dump that chump."

    July 24, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. chuck

    If NY elects this guy, they will deserve what they get.

    July 24, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. scary zones

    ACK! Like some one already registered the Carlos Danger dot com domain name. Good luck to that some one. I am a day late and a dollar short again. Anthony, the poor man... He is always posting pictures of his microscopic weiner.

    July 24, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. athensguy

    I really dont care about a poltician's private life for as long he/she is not committing a crime (r a p e, inc e s t, etc). A person's se x u .al appetite does not diminish his/her ability as a public official

    July 24, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. D jones

    Wife, like the candidate has little to no self respect.

    July 24, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  10. D jones

    The candidate and his wife are cut from exactly the same cloth as the Clinton. They are pitiful scheming liars.

    July 24, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. likeaplan

    What exactly did he do that was so "terribly" wrong?

    July 24, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. Dave

    From what I've heard, it could take 'Carlos Danger' a long time to withdraw

    July 24, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  13. fireiitup

    What a creepy little creep weiner is, hope nyc is smart enough to see thru him.

    July 24, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  14. Charles

    Weiner has deep psychological problems. I am not a New Yorker, but I disagree that the election is not about "him." We elect officials to govern in a manner we approve of. Governance should come from a firm commitment to do the right thing for your constituants, use good judgement and be a steward of government trust. This man has a definite integrety issue, he has embarassed his spouse, publically humiliated her with his bizarre and unacceptable behavior. He is secretive, more interested in lurid sexual persuits than his family, his reputation or his carreer.

    This is a man that puts himself before his family and his professional responsibility. This is very much about him! He is only interested in self interest and not anyone else. With all the corruption with politicians he most definitely should not hold an office of trust in either the public or private sector.

    July 24, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
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