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Anthony Weiner Is Just Trying To Have It All

How the mayoral candidate goes after women voters

As this morning’s New York Post noted sharply, mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner has lately seemed awfully enchanted with the buzzy catchphrase from Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller Lean In. “We always have to lean into reform,” Weiner said at a transportation forum, echoing a line from his recently published book The Keys to the City, in which he declared that “If we lean in to the tough decisions—dedicated to reform—we can recommit ourselves to the spirit that has driven New York for generations.” And it’s not just a phrase the former congressman applies to policy. “I’m really trying hard to let things come to me a little bit more and be less about leaning into every element of my life,” he emoted not long ago. But lest you get the wrong idea, “His campaign staff said his use of the phrase has nothing to do with female voters,” reports the Post. The New Republic can exclusively report on several other instances in which the candidate was definitely not reaching out to female voters.

—Asked about the efficacy of the Citi Bike program, the candidate replied, “I’m very much in favor. Every man, woman, child, and beast needs access to a bicycle. The city needs me like a fish needs a bicycle."

—Clad in a shirt that read “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like,” the candidate stopped by a Queens 10k race last weekend, where he high-fived finishers. “This is great to see New Yorkers out here, enjoying the sunshine, strengthening our community and our muscles at the same time. Our bodies, our selves, you know?”

—Weiner sat down for an interview with a reporter about how his scandalous tweeting had affected his congressional career. “It’s terrible the way the press was all over it. All over it! The personal is political. It’s a shame.” 

—Asked what he thinks of how his wife has dealt with the fallout from his Congressional resignation, Weiner smiled warmly. “Huma has been so graceful, so kind, so strong. You go, girl!” As for what Huma thought about the women who’d come forward to reveal their Twitter relationships with her husband, Weiner’s expression darkened. “You know what Taylor Swift always says. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” 

—Following a series of repeated questions about whether he’d be willing to support special funding for the arts in the New York City public schools, Weiner exploded angrily. “No means no!”

—Clad in a pink shirt reading “Save Second Base,” the candidate announced a plan to increase subsidized middle income housing options. “I want to make it possible to have a middle class existence and remain part of the urban fabric. Every New Yorker must have money and a room of one’s own. Or at least an in-building washer-dryer of one's own and rooftop access."  

—Asked to give a blessing at a recent beefsteak dinner in Brooklyn, Weiner stood up and began, “Great Mother Creatrix and Giver of Life …”

—At a campaign stop at a recently reopened section of Rockaway Beach, Weiner spoke movingly of the way the community had banded together after Hurricane Sandy. Gesturing at the rebuilt boardwalk, he declared, “You’ve come a long way, baby!”

—Asked what he thinks the biggest problem facing New York City is, Weiner paused, thought, and said, “You know, I think it’s really a problem that has no name, a kind of malaise over the city, a general disquiet. But if I HAD to give it a name, I would probably choose—and this is just a random thought that just came to me—the name 'Christine.'" 

—Following a recent campaign stop at Magnolia Bakery, Weiner paused, crossed his legs coquettishly on a West Village stoop, closed his MacBook, and declared that "The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that's just fabulous. Please give a warm welcome to my wife, Huma."