Attacks on Weiner backfire at Queens forum
Two rival mayoral candidates heaped ridicule upon Anthony Weiner for his sexting scandal at a candidates forum Thursday night -- comments that drew a scolding by the moderator and sympathy from the audience for the former congressman.
Republican George McDonald was loudly booed at the Linden Seventh-day Adventist Church in Laurelton when he called Weiner "this self-pleasuring freak." McDonald lamented having to explain to his 10-year-old granddaughter, Emma, why Weiner was famous.
City Comptroller John Liu, one of Weiner's Democratic opponents, caused a stir when he said, "You can rest assured that at night . . . I certainly won't be taking pictures of myself" -- an allusion to photos Weiner has taken of his private parts and sent online to sexting partners.
McDonald was warned by the moderator, Roger McMillan of the Concerned Citizens of Laurelton, to stick to the issues.
"So please, candidates, keep this at a high level," McMillan said. "There is no one in this audience that is sin-free."
When it was Weiner's turn, he received a polite reception, laughs for some of his jokes and the audience's attention when he spoke about issues.
On his way out, for the first time in three nights, Weiner did not run away from waiting reporters.
Asked a question about a voter's complaint at a Rockaway Beach forum on Wednesday night that he breached his constituents' trust by having to resign from Congress in 2011, Weiner conceded he had.
But he added, chidingly, to the reporter: "If you were up there talking today, you would get booed, right? That's what happened when people raised the scandal."
Earlier Thursday, Weiner personally acknowledged for the first time that he adopted the name "Carlos Danger" in his sexting misadventures.
Weiner was asked during an appearance on the Spanish-language network Univision: "You picked the pseudonym 'Carlos Danger.' . . . Why did you pick a Hispanic name and how dangerous were you really?"
He responded: "It was a joke in my personal life between me and one person." Beyond that, Weiner did not explain why.
Weiner's alter ego was revealed when a gossip website posted his online sex conversations and photo exchanges with Sydney Leathers, 23.Leathers has gone on in media interviews to share graphic recollections of their cyberaffair.
"I'm not going to comment on anything about the information that that person has chosen to release," Weiner said. "They can do whatever they want. They can try to harm me in any way that they want. I'm moving forward, talking about the people of the City of New York."
Weiner also took a swipe at Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) when asked about King's recent ridicule of him. He said he'd be "a little ashamed" if King were on his side.
Reached by phone, King said, "Being criticized by Anthony Weiner is a great compliment."