August 12th, 2013
09:12 PM ET
10 years ago

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

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(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. Jeanne021556

    Well the GOP has its Sarah Palin and the Democrats have their WEINER. Let the late night talk show Comedy, begin!

    August 13, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. trumod

    And this just in: the sky is blue.

    August 13, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Chris

    What a self centered low life tis guy is.

    Just what does he do for a living?

    Man up Weiner, character counts and you lack character.

    You and Spitzer give low life politicians a bad name. Go away. Please, just go away.

    August 13, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. Alfranken1

    We put way too much political emphasis on "cheating" when we elect a politician when clearly understand that he/she had to either compromise or not have any virtues in the first place to function as a politician in the first place - you are literally required to lie in the first place to get elected.

    Then you have to get a long with the other liars in command and act as if you enjoy insulting the people you represent.

    It's naive to believe that these politicians are there because they are noble people.

    August 13, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Joe

    Every democrat must be cringing with embarassment. Why don't they just kick this guy to the curb??

    August 13, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. Libdumb

    He represents what the Democratic Party really is as to moral and family values.

    August 13, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Alina77

    People should stop giving second chance to our politicians when they cheat on their wife's or shtooping mistresses in Brazil.. It happening because we got use to give them that "second chance"...

    August 13, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. An interested observer

    This guy is a disgrace and if his wife had any smarts she should leave him.

    August 13, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Kelcy

    Does anyone seriously believe that the Clinton's would tell Weiner anything? Or that his wife would anymore? Nope. He is a sleeze, everyone knows it and knows he can't keep quiet

    August 13, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. miller

    i think he would made a good mayor ,why we no everthing ,about him ,and the others have sonthing to hide .

    August 13, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. won

    "Look, I won't tell you" then you're not fit to run for President. It's called transparency.....

    August 13, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. Not Too Hard To Understand

    It's not too difficult to see the horizon. Weiner has pissed his career away and now it's time to fade quietly into oblivion.

    August 13, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  13. Libdumb

    Why does the press cover this crap. Sorry this is the model for the Democratic Party. Obama wines and dines on Cape Cod at taxpayer expense again.

    August 13, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |

    Its not a Democrat or Repub issue...Mark Sanford cheated LITERALLY not cyber sexting...dumped the wife left a State unattended to run off to Brazil somewhere...and now the fine people of SC voted him in to represent them in Congress. Those are good old GOP values

    August 13, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  15. johno54

    This wanna be, wanna be, has gone too far. He has not just shot himself in the foot, he now wants to smear his blood on his wife and even Mrs. Clinton?
    He needs to be let out to pasture forcibly so that he can pass away peacefully and with far less a stench than he is causing at this time.

    August 13, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Only a severe narcissist would continue to push himself on a people who clearly do not want him. Stop blaming the media. Stop blaming your political adversaries. It is the citizens who do not want you. Accept it.

    August 13, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  17. Thomas

    Anthony Weiner is responsable for his actions that caused the scandal that hurt his wife .

    Whoever is his therapist is a joke , to let Weiner blame the scandal itself and not take full responsibility for his own behavior .

    August 13, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Rose Tyner

    Don't want to hear what Weiner's ideas are because he is such a slime ball and that is what voters need to hear.

    August 13, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. Glass House

    He is a Wiesel and New York does not need him..and neither does Huma. Hrs a scoundrel.

    August 13, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. The REAL Truth...

    @Libdumb – Sorry this is the model for the Democratic Party. Obama wines and dines on Cape Cod at taxpayer expense again.
    And the model for the Republican party is electing a known and acknowledged thief, liar and adulterer by the party of family values.. right on...
    And Obama could take the next 60 days off and still be 300+ days behind the time and $$ that Dubya spent on vacation. in other words.. the spoutrage is typical low information right wing parrot.

    August 13, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. lolo

    This man is a joke. Please go away. He knows that he hurt his wife with his shennanigans, but he keeps on putting his foot in his mouth. Unlike the republicans we do not vote in politicians who lie (like M. Sanford). We will not reward them for their failures.

    August 13, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. ST

    I get difficulties to understand those who are so obsessed with Weiner's behaviour, but not doing the same to the congress which has been wasting time of everyone and still continue doing the same. Weiner is crazy, I agree, but how come his wrong doing has to affect each and every individual. Call me crazy like Weiner, but I prefer to have Weiner than having the congress we have at the moment.

    August 13, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. Dixe

    To Huma: I can understand being there for him the first time. Letting him get help, but seriously he has no clue. He keeps messing up and dragging you down. Dump him. I've been with a cheating looser to. You have to decide when enough is enough.

    August 13, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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