Candidates typically avoid having a shouting match with a potential voter. But Anthony Weiner hasn’t had a typical campaign.
With less than a week until the Democratic primary, the New York City mayoral candidate got into an explosive argument with a Jewish constituent Wednesday--just before the start of the Jewish holy day of Rosh Hashanah--at a bakery in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
As Weiner exited the shop, a man wearing a yarmulke called Weiner a “scumbag." And in a video released Wednesday night by the Weiner campaign, you can hear the heckler say under his breath, "married to an Arab"--a presumed dig at Weiner's Muslim wife Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
With a mouth full of baked goods, the Democrat whipped around and said, "Takes one to know one, jackass.” He added, "What's that? You wait till I walk out to say anything? That's courage."
And that’s when the sea of iPhones and cameras came out. The two men argued back and forth for nearly two minutes.
The man lambasted Weiner for being “disgusting” and having the “nerve to even walk around in public” after his “deviant behavior.”
Weiner shot back: "You’re my judge? What rabbi taught you that?"
"You talk to God and work out your problems, but stay out of the public eye," the man shouted at Weiner. "You're a bad example for the people.”
"That's your judgment,” Weiner yelled. “That's why they have elections!” The candidate told the man to visit his rabbi: “Where do you get the morality to judge me? You know who judges me? Not you, buddy.” He continued, “You have shown no signs that you're superior to me and you're not my God." The conversation ended with Weiner saying, “Nice talking to you!”
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year holiday, starts a season of reflection and repentance.
When later asked about the religious holiday by a reporter, Weiner said he would forgive the man. He also told reporters, “I don’t back down.”
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio leading the pack with 43% of likely voters. That’s up seven points from last week. The progressive candidate, whose wife is African-American, has the backing of 47% of the black vote and 44% of women voters, according to the poll.
Trailing in a distant second place, with 20%, is former city comptroller Bill Thompson, according to the poll. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has 18% of the vote. Former Congressman Weiner only got 7%, a far cry from his support before the latest round of sexting disclosures.
If he can hold onto his lead and get than more than 40% of the vote, de Blasio would have enough support to skip a runoff election and advance straight to the Democratic ticket. If he doesn’t make the 40% threshold, he’d likely be in a two-person runoff with Quinn or Thompson.
The chances of Weiner turning around this campaign remains slim--the Democratic primary will be held on Sept. 10.