In fairness to his spokesman, you can’t issue an immediate pro forma denial to claims that your boss sent crotch shots to a random woman when he’s known mainly for sending crotch shots to random women.
Time for a war-room huddle:
The screenshots of conversations — on the nightlife site The Dirty — could not be independently confirmed. They consist of screenshots of exchanges on Facebook and the lesser-known social network Formspring between a woman (whose avatar is blurred) and a man alleged to be (and who she appears to believe) is Weiner, but who also uses the handle “Carlos Danger.”
The site’s anonymous tipster claims that Weiner continued the correspondence with her at least until August 2012, when Weiner allegedly suggested finding her a Chicago condo where they could meet. The screenshots of the exchanges are undated, however, and whether they could be shown to have taken place before or after Weiner’s 2011 fall — before which he has said he had other, yet undisclosed, online relationships — is a key question.
“Can you hard delete all our chats here,” the person identified as Weiner writes in one chat, in which he also allegedly offered his correspondent help in getting on a Politico blogger panel. “I’m deeply flawed,” he allegedly says in another.
His spokesman told BuzzFeed that she’d reply soon; that was roughly five hours ago as I write this. I was skeptical when I saw the screenshots just because they include a Facebook message allegedly sent under Weiner’s own name, but Ben Smith points to this Radar post from 2011 as evidence that he’s been that reckless before. Which makes sense: One of the striking things about the 2011 revelations was that he seemed to want women to know who they were flirting with. It wasn’t him seeking out an anonymous thrill; it was Anthony Weiner, congressman, basking in adulation from women who recognized and admired him. Maybe he couldn’t let go of the rush, even after disgrace and semi-obscurity. Or maybe this is all a set up by his opponents in the mayor’s race. Must be a lotta Democrats out there who want to keep him away from a perch as visible as mayor of NYC. He himself said a few months ago that he can’t be sure if all of his pre-scandal chats with women have surfaced. Maybe some oppo research dug this up — or made it up? — and leaked it. Weiner can’t really be so lame as to have invented “Carlos Danger” as his nom d’amour. Can he?
Exit question: Will voters care? If the screenshots turn out to be from 2011, probably not. If, however, the screenshots are recent, then … probably not. They’re New Yorkers, right? They have a bottomless appetite for crap in their elected officials. No wonder David Paterson’s suddenly thinking about making a comeback too.
Update: Uh oh.
“I said that other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have. As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress. While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong. This behavior is behind me. I’ve apologized to Huma and am grateful that she has worked through these issues with me and for her forgiveness. I want to again say that I am very sorry to anyone who was on the receiving end of these messages and the disruption that this has caused. As my wife and I have said, we are focused on moving forward.”
Conspicuous ambiguity there on when, precisely, the new chats happened. Was it pre- or post-scandal? And also, which parts are true and which not? I assume he means that the claim that he was planning to meet the mystery woman for actual sex rather than virtual sex is a lie. He may be a sleaze, but he’s not an in-the-flesh 100-percent adulterer. Yet.
Is the “Carlos Danger” part true, at least? I really want that to be true.
On the other hand, a mayor named Carlos Danger probably doesn't give a shit how much Mountain Dew you drink.
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) July 23, 2013