As the world now knows, excerpts have emerged online today purporting to be further racy exchanges between New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and women he was sexting with on the Internet. Weiner issued an apologetic statement today that confirmed the legitimacy of the exchanges: “I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have.” The statement did not specify when the new exchanges occurred, but in his press conference this evening, Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, the longtime Hillary Clinton aide, acknowledged that he continued his exchanges with women after his 2011 resignation from Congress—until last August, Weiner said. And the most eye-popping of the exchanges, conducted under the nom du plume “Carlos Danger,” appears to have been conducted after the exposure of the earlier set of messages and raunchy pictures that led to the resignation, as it alludes to that disclosure. The Web site that disclosed the exchanges today says that one began on July 12, 2012, one week after the publication of a wholesome People photo spread of Weiner and his family.
As such, the new exchanges call into question the picture Weiner put forward in a carefully choreographed 8,000-word April profile in the New York Times Magazine in which he announced his interest in running for mayor and described the period following the 2011 disclosures and resignation as a long search for redemption and quiet healing with his wife. The newly revealed exchanges serve as a warning to journalists everywhere: Beware comeback politicians bearing gifts.
Here, to drive that warning home, are some excerpts from the magazine piece set against some of the tamer excerpts from the newly disclosed online exchanges:
Meanwhile, back in New York City, Weiner was determined to put his head down and get back to work, but that was made more difficult by the fact that Congress was not in session. “So there wasn’t any real place for me to go,” he says. “I had, and this is not exaggeration, 20 television cameras outside my little co-op in Forest Hills.”
Why are you awake? What r u thinking about today? How do look?
Weiner said this period has been a respite for both of them. “Whatever Hillary does next, who knows how long it’s going to last, and whatever I do next. . . .” He trailed off. “We kind of have the feeling that we’re on this reprieve. It’s calm. Let’s enjoy it while we can.”
If I met you in a bar and tried to talk to you, would I have a chance?
…Weiner started seeing a therapist almost immediately after the scandal broke. “Just because I had to do something to be able to deal with it,” he said…Therapy wasn’t something that came naturally to me. 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.”
I make me insane. More!
“It’s not behind us. It kind of bubbles around and comes up in different ways. But she’s, um. . . .” Here, he paused and took a deep breath and started to cry. “She’s given. . . .” He stopped again, could barely get the words out. “She’s given me another chance. And I am very grateful for that. And I’m trying to make sure I get it right.”
I like to whisper in your ear while I make love to you. That OK?
“Put it this way: it’s hard to forget even for a moment that you have become a figure of fascination. Like, you know, I don’t travel too far without someone turning around and looking or taking a picture of me or coming up to say hello or whispering to their buddy. When it gets into more than that, it’s one of the following: 1) ‘Oh, you should run.’ 2) ‘Man, you got screwed.’ 3) ‘Aw, I’m so sorry what happened to you.’ 4) ‘Spitzer! You’re Governor Spitzer!’ ”
I'm deeply flawed.
“Also, I want to ask people to give me a second chance. I do want to have that conversation with people whom I let down and with people who put their faith in me and who wanted to support me. I think to some degree I do want to say to them, ‘Give me another chance.’ ”
You are a walking fantasy.
“I’m really trying hard to let things come to me a little bit more and be less about leaning in to every element of my life,” he said. “And I think I’m a better person for that reason. It allows thoughts to breathe a little bit more.”
What are you wearing? Much for me to take off?
“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.’ ”
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Alec MacGillis is a New Republic senior editor. Follow him @AlecMacGillis.