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Women backing Weiner look past scandal

Anthony Weiner, a Democratic frontrunner for New York

Anthony Weiner, a Democratic frontrunner for New York City mayor, leaves a cocktail fundraiser on the Upper East Side, accompanied by his political aide Camille Joseph. (June 27, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Matthew Chayes

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, hosted a $175-a-person "Women for Anthony" cocktail fundraiser Thursday night, and attendees said they were willing to look past the sexting scandal that drove him from Congress two years ago.

"It's gonna be a battle for him to try and gain the women's votes, for sure," said Catia Alati, a fashion designer from Floral Park, while on her way to the Fifth Avenue apartment of Weiner supporter Jill Iscol, an educator and Democratic activist. "Everyone that I've talked to about coming here tonight, everybody was twitching their faces."

She added: "I twitched my face too -- in the beginning. But I'm open-minded."

Dozens of women sipped cocktails and dined on hors d'oeuvres while listening to the ex-congressman's pitch on why he should be the next mayor.

Corporate lawyer Binta Brown of Manhattan's Upper East Side, who knows Abedin from the Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns they both worked on, said the event had "as many people as you can fit into Jill's apartment."

"I want a mayor who lives New York, and Anthony is that person to me," Brown said. "We all make mistakes -- sometimes mistakes that are more public, more embarrassing, more difficult than others."

A protester outside the building was unforgiving.

Caitlin Reilly, 25, a social worker, clutched a handmade cardboard sign that read in part: "Women need leaders not porn tweeters." Upon leaving, Weiner at first ignored her when reporters pointed her out, and then chuckled.

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