Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., confirmed to the New York Times Magazine in a story published early Wednesday that he is considering running for mayor of New York this fall.
The 8,000-word piece, written by Jonathan Van Meter, a contributing editor at Vogue and New York magazine, focuses mostly on the scandal that ended Weiner's congressional career: the inappropriate conversations he had with other women over email, telephone, Facebook and Twitter. The nature of the piece is overwhelmingly confessional (and less salacious); it's the first extended interview Weiner and wife Huma Abedin have done since his 2011 resignation. At one point Van Meter admits, "Never has an interview felt so much like a therapy session."
Here are eight of the most revealing passages -- both for their look into Weiner's psyche and the calculus behind a possible 2013 political comeback:
1. Weiner recounts the day when he accidentally tweeted a photo of himself in a pair of gray boxer briefs, and what he told Abedin, who is also interviewed extensively for the piece: "Huma was coming back from overseas, and I called her and left her a message. ... I lied to her. The lies to everyone else were primarily because I wanted to keep it from her."
2. As the scandal intensified, Weiner and Abedin retreated to a friend's house in the Hamptons, on the East End of Long Island. Abedin remembers when Weiner finally came clean: "The weekend was over, we're about to leave, the car is packed, and 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.' And it was every emotion that one would imagine: rage and anger and shock. But more than anything else, in the immediate, it was 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?'"
3. At one point, Van Meter asks Weiner the question most Americans had in the wake of the scandal: What was he thinking? "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 want to be liked and admired."
4. Weiner says, despite the looming mayoral election and the perception that his desire for a political comeback is driving the timing of these interviews, he wasn't overly prepped. "I'll probably get into trouble for stuff that I'll say in this piece, but I'm just at kind of a different place with that way of looking at stuff. It just doesn't feel comfortable anymore. And I think as a result, if I ever go back to doing politics again, I don't think I'll be as good at it. Either that or I'll be ... this crazy new kind of politician. It's somewhere between Chauncey Gardner [sic] and Bulworth. 'He said what? Oh, that must be some brilliant strategy!' 'No! It's the other way around!'"
5. Asked last month about how he would make the decision whether to run, Weiner said: "I don't know. It won't be something as pedestrian as 'Do I think I'll win?' 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.'"
6. Weiner, asked what his friends and family say about a return to politics: "My brother's like, 'Dude, you'd be great if you ran, you'd be a great mayor or something, but don't do it if it's going to screw you up again.'"
7. When news broke last month that Weiner's mayoral campaign committee had paid more than $100,000 for polling and research, he said in an email to Van Meter that he thought the coverage was getting "less snarky." Van Meter writes, in the story's kicker, "Huma, he said, is starting to think he should run."
8. Weiner's San Francisco-based pollster, David Binder, "said I'd be the underdog in any race I ran," Weiner says during a March interview. Binder expanded on that in a separate interview with Van Meter: "There was this sense of 'Yeah, he made a mistake. Let's give him a second chance. But there are conditions on that, and there are a couple of things we're going to want to know: What have you been doing since this incident occurred? Did you learn anything from this mistake? How did you deal with it?' They want to know that they've put it behind them."
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