Weiner Rising: Networks Promote Rehabilitation of Disgraced Democrat Ahead of NYC Mayoral Run
On Thursday, the morning shows on NBC, CBS, and ABC all touted a New York Times Magazine profile
of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, an article designed to
rehabilitate the Democrat's image in preparation for a mayoral run in
New York City. On NBC's Today, correspondent Stephanie Gosk explained: "Most
people wanted to know whether or not he had learned from his mistakes
before they could vote for him. His wife says she forgives him."
Gosk detailed Weiner's expression of regret for the 2011 sexting scandal that ended his congressional career: "Both Weiner and his wife revealing in their own words how it happened, why it happened, and the damage it caused....Weiner describes the shame and the guilt." A sound bite was featured of NYT magazine interviewer Jonathan Van Meter sympathetically recalling: "[Weiner's] still wracked with a sort of shame and pain and guilt about it, and – and he cried, I think every time I interviewed him, at some point."
On CBS This Morning,
co-host Charlie Rose noted that Weiner "may be eying a return" to
politics while introducing a report on the profile that "shows us why
the unlikely scenario is becoming a real possibility."
Correspondent Terrell Brown declared: "For the first time since his fall from grace, Anthony Weiner admits he's seriously considering a political comeback." The headline on-screen throughout the segment read: "Political Comeback? Former NY Congressman Eyes Run."
Similar to Gosk's analysis on Today, the This Morning report featured Politico White House editor Edward-Isaac Dovere observing that Weiner "has a lot of things that he needs to make clear to the people of New York if he wants to be mayor of New York, and one of them is that he is not the guy that he was two years ago." Clearly the message the NYT magazine article was trying to convey.
Brown concluded: "Weiner said, 'I think to some degree I do want to say to them, give me another chance.' Ultimately it'll be up to the public to take him back."
On ABC's Good Morning America, Jonathan Karl told co-host George Stephanopoulos: "[Weiner] tells the New York Times he is considering a run for mayor. You know, George, he still has more than $4 million in his campaign war chest. And you remember, at the time of that scandal, he was the favorite to be the next mayor of New York, so it looks like he may well give it a try."
Stephanopoulos observed: "And both he and his wife, Huma Abedin, who, of course, worked for Secretary of State Clinton, incredibly revealing in that interview this morning."
Here is a full transcript of Gosk's April 10 report on Today:
MATT LAUER: Let's begin this half hour with former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his wife now opening up about the scandal that led to his resignation. NBC's Stephanie Gosk is here with details on that. Steph, good morning.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: New Details; The Anthony Weiner Scandal; Former Congressman & Wife Speak Out]
STEPHANIE GOSK: Hey, good morning, guys. This is a long and very personal interview in the New York Times magazine, exploring every facet of that scandal. Both Weiner and his wife revealing in their own words how it happened, why it happened, and the damage it caused.
The photos show a happy couple with a 1-year-old son, while the interview digs into their painful recent history. Huma Abedin describes the moment her husband, Anthony Weiner, finally admitted he was lying. At the end of a weekend escape in the Hamptons, just before the car ride home. "Anthony said, 'I have something to tell you. I can't lie to you anymore. It's true. It's me. The picture is me. I sent it. Yes, these stories about the other women are true.'" Weiner told New York Times Magazine contributing author Jonathan Van Meter that he lied to hide the truth from Huma.
JONATHAN VAN METER: All the lies that he told to the press that first crazy week are the same lies that he was telling Huma.
GOSK: Weiner describes the shame and the guilt. "There was the crime, there was the coverup, there was harm I had done to her. And there's no one who deserved this less than Huma." The crime was a series of messages between the Congressmen and other women, revealed by Weiner himself when he accidentally posted this photo on Twitter in May 2011. Weiner says, "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." Three weeks later, Weiner resigned.
ANTHONY WEINER: Today I am announcing my resignation from Congress.
GOSK: At the time of the scandal, his wife was deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She was also carrying their first child. The question Abedin and many others were asking was, why? Weiner explains, "I wasn't really thinking. What does this mean that I'm doing this. Is this risky behavior? Is this smart behavior? To me it was just another way to feed this notion that I wanted to be liked and admired."
VAN METER: He's still wracked with a sort of shame and pain and guilt about it, and – and he cried, I think every time I interviewed him, at some point.
GOSK: In the interview, Weiner says he is eyeing the mayoral race in New York. His political committee spent $100,000 on a poll. Most people wanted to know whether or not he had learned from his mistakes before they could vote for him. His wife says she forgives him.
HODA KOTB: Is there much about – from the wife in that article, is she speaking a lot, too?
GOSK: It's a lot, it's a lot from the wife.
KOTB: Oh, wow.
GOSK: Remember, she had a very prominent role in Hillary Clinton's secretary of state years and if she runs again I wouldn't be surprised if you see Huma in a similar type role.
LAUER: Alright, Stephanie Gosk, interesting story, thank you very much.