Has Anthony Weiner peeved Hillary Clinton?
Act 2 to a sexting scandal was a blow, but what has riled Clintonworld is Anthony Weiner's apparent claim to have inside knowledge of a Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign – via his wife, Huma Abedin.
Washington — New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner has got himself into even more trouble this week. You’d think that would be difficult given the sexting scandal that drove Mr. Weiner from Congress and has pushed his poll ratings toward the basement. But apparently it’s not impossible, as it now looks like he’s irritated Hillary Rodham Clinton, or at least members of her political team.
For a New York Democrat with past ties to the Clintons, that’s a misstep that could result in permanent exile to the private sector. Of course, that’s a place he appears headed anyway, given the current sentiment of New York City voters.
“I do know.... I’m not going to tell you,” Weiner said.
This resulted in headlines like “Weiner hints at Clinton run” and so forth. Given that Clinton herself has been pointedly noncommittal and that there are good political, legal, and familial reasons why she shouldn’t commit herself now even if she’s made up her mind to run, which she probably hasn’t, Weiner’s words seemed a breach of etiquette, at the least.
His comment, writes The Atlantic Wire’s Abby Ohlheiser, “seemed to break a big rule of talking about the Clinton campaign: It’s not even officially happening yet.”
Weiner subsequently tried to walk back his remark, saying it was meant to be humorous. “I’ll try to make the jokes more obvious,” he told ABC News.
But Clintonworld appeared unamused.
“We have absolutely no clue what he was talking about,” said Nick Merrill, a Clinton spokesman. “Maybe his campaign does. Doubt it, though.”
This cutting comment comes after Clinton allies have privately expressed their unhappiness with Weiner for what they see as his continued dropping of the Clinton name and reckless online behavior, according to an Associated Press report.
Traveling in Africa, Bill Clinton told journalists that he has not been involved in the New York City mayor’s race and that Weiner and others knew he would not endorse them from the beginning.
“There are too many people running for mayor who have been my supporters, who supported [Hillary] for senator, [Hillary] for president,” Mr. Clinton said.
Weiner is a particular political problem for the Clintons because his situation is reminiscent of Mr. Clinton’s marital infidelities in office and subsequent impeachment by the House.
At the beginning of his mayoral campaign, Weiner stood side by side with his wife, who said she had forgiven him for sending explicit photos to women online. She has not campaigned with him since it has become apparent that he has continued to exchange explicit messages with women since his 2011 resignation from Congress.
Ms. Abedin is now reportedly on leave from her job on Mrs. Clinton’s personal staff.
The further revelations about Weiner’s sexting have caused his voter support to evaporate. Once an unlikely front-runner, he’s now fallen to fourth place in a just-released Quinnipiac survey, with only 10 percent of respondents naming him their first choice in the upcoming Democratic mayoral primary.
Why doesn’t he just drop out, given that message? One reason may be that he’s being trailed by a reality TV show producer who is filming his every public move, New York Magazine reports.
“We may be able to watch this rocky ride all over again, eventually, in documentary form. Can you imagine?” write Abraham Riesman and Joe Coscarelli on New York Magazine's “Intelligencer” blog.