NEW YORK--Anthony Weiner criticized the media for being too focused on the sexting scandal that has imperiled his campaign for mayor, insisting that voters care about issues other than his personal drama.
Speaking at an event sponsored by Buzzfeed, Weiner said the coverage of his campaign has been “brutal” and accused some members of the media of going out of their way to write negative stories about him. The New York Times, he declared, “doesn’t want me to win.”
“Substance doesn’t get covered in a campaign like this,” Weiner said.
But asked if he’s been treated more unfairly than other politicians who have personally and publicly erred, like former President Bill Clinton and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, the former congressman demurred.
Asked if he felt he had been “set up” by former online paramour Sydney Leathers who has cashed in on her connection to Weiner after their sexts were made public, the ex-lawmaker insisted he had no one to blame for his predicament but himself.
“Nobody did this to me. I did this. I made these mistakes,” Weiner told Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith. But, he added, “They are behind me.”
Asked why he didn't just use the Snapchat, an app that immediately deletes pictures sent to other users, Weiner replied, "I don't have a good answer for that."
He admitted that he continued to see a therapist “from time to time” but declined to say exactly how much.
“Apparently, you never go out of therapy,” the Democratic mayoral hopeful said.
Weiner, whose poll numbers have plummeted in the weeks since he admitted that he continued to exchange sexual messages with women he met online even after a sexting scandal forced him from Congress, looked visibly exhausted as he took questions for about a half hour.
He expressed regret about what the scandal had done to his wife, longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, admitting that he had hurt his wife both “professionally” and “personally.” Still, when asked about her absence on the campaign trail, Weiner insisted, “She’s helping out everyday. “
But the ex-congressman became testy when asked about reports that Clinton operatives had become involved in his campaign. Asked specifically about longtime Clinton aide Phillipe Reines, who was reportedly present during certain interviews, Weiner said he is merely “a friend of Huma’s.”
Asked if he knew what his wife’s role would be should Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016, Weiner replied, “I do,” but declined to say what it would be.
Weiner also became cagey when asked about the state of his friendship with “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, his former roommate. Stewart publicly trashed Weiner in the aftermath of the sexting scandal that drove him from office, and under questioning, Weiner declined to say whether they remained friends. Asked how long it has been since they spoke, the mayoral hopeful said it had been six months.
With less than a month before the Sept. 10 primary, Weiner insisted he would survive the scandal—though he declined to say how exactly he would climb back to the top of the polls. At one point, he joked about getting struck by lightning, adding “it would be the only bad luck thing that hasn’t happened to me.”
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