Anthony Weiner's Last Words (For Now)

Categories: Weinergate

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Anthony Weiner, delivering his second apology, this one followed by a stump-speech-like paean to the city's middle class, seems to have intended for his resignation today to serve as interlude, not obit.

Otherwise he could have just issued a statement stepping down, rather than conjuring up the inevitable press carnival complete with a scene-stealing Howard Stern heckler and some 40 cameras, with Extra there along with NY1. Weiner took no questions after his 4-minute remarks, having learned that lesson at least from his last humiliating press conference.

Unlike Eliot Spitzer, who was always a product of his father's fortune, Weiner will have to first work out how to make a living other than the only one he's ever known.He is a proven TV presence and if he does want to return to what till now had been the only life he's known, Ben Smith points out that he still has a well-funded campaign account.

Other loose thoughts before closing the book on this story for now:

--It's not obvious which of the 2013 candidates gains most from Weiner's absence, but while the CW at present is all about the outer boroughs, Manhattanites Chris Quinn and Bill Thompson (who I see as the two early Democratic frontrunners, though with enough overlap in support it's unlikely they'd both make the runoff) are likely to pick up pockets of supporters.

--With the freak show closing for now, attention will turn to Albany, where high stakes fights over gay marriage, rent control, pension changes and a property tax cap are all in play with the legislative session due to end Friday. If Cuomo wins in on those, he'll have maximized his honeymoon wins. If he's swept, he'll have just a budget deal and a loophole-filled ethics bill to show for it.

--Given the changing demographics and unexpectedly slim margin in his last House run, it's still possible his district will be eliminated (it was nearly a sure thing if he was still in office) -- which makes it less appealing to the big names being discussed to fill his seat.

-Finally, an odd omission from Weiner's last stand: he didn't say if his resignation was effective immediately, or if not when he would be stepping down. I've reached out to his camp for an answer to that and will update when I hear from them. Presumably, Cuomo will call a special election

My favorite moment of the press conference, though, came while talking to a senior, Irvin Cohen, while we all waited for Weiner.

Cohen, there for the spectacle, along with a greater number of seniors who came to support their Congressman and former Councilman, told me an old joke about a preacher who lays out next to his sleeping son a Bible, a $100 bill, booze and porn to see which he'll reach for on rising and so to find out if he'll be a preacher, a businessman, a drunk or a pervert. The son wakes up and pockets the money, drinks a slug and eyes the naked women, all while holding the Bible. "Oh God," says the preacher. "He's going to be a politician."

Cohen laughed, and added: "I got that from the internet. Just like Weiner."


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