His poll numbers have plummeted, and his campaign donations have dwindled, but in a wide-ranging interview Monday night, Anthony Weiner appeared defiant, hopeful, and even a bit annoyed by the suggestion that he could possibly lose the New York City mayoral race this fall.
"Coverage has been fairly brutal," Weiner said during a BuzzFeed Brews interview in New York.
The former congressman's campaign, once leading the Democratic field, is still in a tailspin over the revelation last month that Weiner continued extramarital online relationships until the summer of last year. Weiner repeated his vow to stay in the race, despite wide-sweeping calls for his withdrawal. A poll released Monday morning even found that 77% of registered Democrats have an unfavorable opinion of the candidate.
"I'm gonna fight, I'm gonna stand up strong," Weiner said. "I've shown that I don't back down very easily."
On the topic of the scandal, Weiner blamed himself for the controversy that has ousted his campaign from the top of the polls. "I did these things. No one did this to me. I did them," he said, adding that he sees a therapist whenever he can escape the demands of the campaign trail.
Weiner maintained that he would climb back to first place in the polls — he is now in fourth, behind City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio — and would this time next year "of course" be living in Gracie Mansion.
In response to questions about how his campaign has been covered in the local press, Weiner bemoaned the lack of substance in news stories — he joked that this outlet, for example, just shows "videos of cats" or "whatever it is you do at BuzzFeed," he said.
But Weiner zeroed in particularly on The New York Times, whose editorial board has written harshly about his campaign. "Their heads are exploding over the idea [of me becoming mayor]," he said, claiming the paper "never" liked him. Weiner added that he wouldn't be able to pick Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the Times, "out of a lineup."
"The problem is I don't have fealty to them," he said. "It makes them nuts."
Ruby Cramer is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ruby Cramer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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