While some are criticizing the circus-like atmosphere Anthony Weiner has brought to the mayor's race, he is, in fact seeking to position himself as the "ideas" candidate. He sat down for an extended policy discussion on NY1's "Road to City Hall" Thursday night. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
For Anthony Weiner, the challenge is not just winning forgiveness. It's about standing out in a crowded Democratic field. His gimmick Thursday night was arriving to NY1's Chelsea studios on a Citi Bike.
"I haven't quite figured out how to handle having your helmet at your stop, and getting your hair as beautiful as this when you're done," he said. "But I really like it. I think people are taking to it."
Weiner's interview, though, stuck mostly to serious policy questions. He defended his emphasis on getting disruptive students out of the classroom, explained his opposition to a waste transfer station on the Upper East Side, and said that the Rockaways need to be better protected from erosion in future storms.
"We need to do more than just dump sand on the beach," he said. "We need to make the civil engineering of having jetties or groins or something there that prevents that barrier island from getting wiped away."
While his late entry means missing out on endorsements from unions and other groups, Weiner said that's liberated him to just talk ideas. He is, in fact, positioning himself as a policy candidate.
"I think it's a mistake that sometimes we make when we choose our candidates, that we too much, you go to some of these candidate forums and you listen to some of the debates, too much 'I ain't the other guy,' or 'I'm not my predecessor,' or 'I'm not Mike Bloomberg,' or 'I'm not Rudy Giuliani,'" he said. "And it's not about what you are and what you believe and what you're going to do in the next four years.”
Despite her prominent role in his kickoff video, Weiner also downplayed his wife Huma Abedin's role in his campaign. He said her sole full-time job is managing Hillary Clinton's transition and disputed a report that she's been fundraising for him.
"The campaign is a week old, and we're still getting our sea legs under us, and I don't know what her role will be," he said. "But she's very busy in her own regard.”
Weiner, meanwhile, said he's busy working on his second book of policy ideas.