It was 6:50 p.m. and where was Anthony Weiner?
Just 20 minutes away from a live interview on NY1 last night, the former Congressman wasn't in our station's green room. Instead, he was AWOL, making our producers sweat – as well as his harried spokeswoman, Barbara Morgan. The newest mayoral candidate had decided to take a Citi Bike from his Park Avenue home to the station, embracing a new transit movement that is already threatening to become the hottest trend of the summer in the city. After struggling to dock his bike across from the station's studios at the Chelsea Market, Weiner made the interview with time to spare, even greeting startled passersby as he walked into the building.
What was remarkable about Errol Louis' interview with Weiner was how normal it was – and how similar it was to the countless interviews that he did with the station before a sexting scandal sent him to the exit door almost two years ago. He parried questions about the controversial planned waste transfer station on East 91st Street, took the city to task for Hurricane Sandy recovery, and promised that he'll soon be releasing a second book of campaign ideas.
So with the political cycle apparently stuck in hyperdrive, could the worst already be behind Weiner? It's so hard to tell at this early date but both Politico's Maggie Haberman and the New Yorker's John Cassidy serve as good barometers of the zeitgeist, which is currently: "Holy crow, could this guy actually win?"
Even a whiff of another scandal could be enough to end what would be a remarkable political comeback. Meanwhile, Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, in a "Garbo Talks" moment, served as a valuable part of her husband's video announcement but it's unclear how prominent she will be on the campaign trail – if at all. After telling The New York Times that Abedin "seems to have jumped onboard with both boots", Weiner was far more circumspect last night, saying: "I don’t know what her role will be, but she’s very busy in her own regard."
It will be interesting to see what Weiner does in the coming weeks. Like all of the other candidates in the race, he will start petitioning his way onto the ballot starting next week. And he's also planning some fundraising. (Note to the candidate: do you really want a tobacco distributor to serve as a campaign bundler?)
With his jacket off and aboard his bike, Weiner is bringing some energy to a mayoral campaign that has often seemed enervated. After all, he's playing with house money. But will it be more than just a summer trend?