NEW YORK » Former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned over a sexting scandal in 2011, says he’s weighing a run for New York City mayor this year.
The Democrat told The New York Times Magazine in a story posted online today that "it’s now or maybe never for me" but acknowledged that it’s a long shot because some people "just don’t have room for a second narrative about me."
Weiner said that his political committee spent more than $100,000 on polling and research by Obama’s longtime pollster, David Binder, but said he doesn’t know when he’ll decide on entering the race.
"It won’t be something as pedestrian as ‘Do I think I’ll win?’" he said. "It will be something more like ‘Does it feel like I should be involved in this debate? Someone should be out there saying A, B or C.’"
Weiner represented a Brooklyn-Queens district for more than a decade before resigning over his lewd interactions with several women on Twitter and elsewhere online.
Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, described the scandal and its aftermath in the interview posted online today and scheduled to be published in the magazine on Sunday.
"We have been in a defensive crouch for so long," Weiner said. "We are ready to clear the decks on this thing."
The scandal erupted on May 27, 2011 when a photo of a man’s torso wearing gray underwear appeared on Weiner’s Twitter account.
Weiner initially said his account had been hacked but was eventually forced to come clean as conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart published more photos including one of Weiner posing shirtless in his Congressional office.
Weiner eventually confessed to inappropriate online communication with several women but said he had never met any of them in person.
Breitbart collapsed and died on March 1, 2012.
Abedin said her first impulse was to believe her husband’s explanation that his Twitter account had been hacked.
"I was right there with him: ‘Let’s fight! Defend! I don’t understand. Why don’t you just say this is not your picture?’" Abedin said. "I was with him. One hundred percent."
When Weiner confessed that the photos were of him, Abedin felt disbelief. "The thing that I consciously remember saying over and over and over again is: ‘I don’t understand. What is going on? What’s happening to our lives?’" she said.
Weiner said of his own behavior, "I knew when I did it, almost from the moment I did it, there was no good way for it to end. When I sent that fateful tweet."
But he speculated that he never would have gotten in trouble if social media hadn’t been invented.
"You know, like spin the wheel! Find someone to say something to you! And if it wasn’t 2011 and it didn’t exist, it’s not like I would have gone out cruising bars or something like that," Weiner said. "It was just something that technology made possible and it became possible for me to do stupid things."
Weiner and Abedin now live in Manhattan, and Weiner is the primary caregiver for the couple’s 15-month-old son, Jordan.
He also has been seeing a therapist.
"Therapy wasn’t something that came naturally to me," Weiner said. I am this middle-class guy from Brooklyn, the men in our family don’t hug each other, we don’t talk about our feelings. It wasn’t a comfortable place to be. And now I start sentences with, ‘My therapist says. . . .’ "