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Pastor: Weiner's comeback inspires others

An image taken from the video announcing Anthony

An image taken from the video announcing Anthony Weiner's candidacy for mayor. (May 22, 2013) Photo Credit: YouTube/AnthonyWeiner4Mayor

New York City mayoral contender Anthony Weiner on Sunday took his redemption tour to a tiny church in Jamaica, Queens, where he cast himself as "an imperfect messenger."

He acknowledged his mistakes without mentioning the sexting scandal that doomed his congressional career in 2011, as he reminded about 40 churchgoers that everybody has their failings.

Before introducing Weiner, the Rev. Phil Craig, pastor of the Greater Springfield Community Church, asked those in his congregation who had never sinned or done wrong to stand up. None stood.

"I'm an imperfect messenger talking about my desire to have health care, my desire to improve schools, my desire to create jobs," Weiner told them.

Craig after the service said Weiner is inspiring others by overcoming adversity, but would not say whether the Democrat had his vote.

Weiner, 48, last week launched his improbable comeback attempt. He is polling second only to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and has a well-funded campaign, but lacks public support from political allies. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said "shame on us" if Weiner is elected.

Weiner on Sunday told reporters he has historically built his campaigns on "good ideas and hard work," not "endorsements and institutional support."

He opted out of marching Sunday in the Memorial Day parade in his old neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, as many of his mayoral rivals were set to do, and instead spoke at events with much smaller audiences.

His stop in Jamaica and one later at a Memorial Day ceremony in the Co-op City section of the Bronx showed he was courting the votes of the middle-class, outer-borough residents he previously served as congressman.

In the Bronx, Weiner thanked veterans in the audience of about 100 people, saying that even the most basic rights wouldn't be guaranteed without their service.

He recounted sitting on a bench moments earlier when a man approached him. "He says, 'You're a bum. I would never vote for you, because you voted for Obamacare.' . . . I said to him, 'Happy Memorial Day. Somebody fought for your right to say that to me.' "

Many said Weiner earned their vote. Joanne Schwartz, of Co-op City, called him "Mayor Weiner. Get used to hearing that."

Others maintained that Weiner cannot be trusted because he initially denied he'd sent inappropriate photos of himself to women on the Internet. "He's a good politician, a great one, but he's a liar," Army veteran Hector Alonzo, 66, of Castle Hill, the Bronx, said. "I don't care if he's got pictures out there, but I care that he lied about it."

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