Weiner is the title of a new documentary about the dismal 2013 New York City mayoral campaign of Anthony Weiner. Considering that Weiner’s run, like his tenure as a U.S. congressman before, was ended by a sexting scandal, the title seems like a mean and juvenile joke. But then again, that’s just his name: Weiner. Tough break, I guess. What are you gonna do? Anyway, the documentary sounds like it’s going to be excellent.
Weiner’s premise is catnip for any journalist or fan of high-profile meltdowns. The former congressman and his wife Huma Abedin, believing the mayoral bid would mark Weiner’s triumphant return to the political stage, gave documentarians full, unimpeded access to the campaign. Then, when Weiner’s alleged sexts to 22-year-old Sydney Leathers were published and the world met Carlos Danger, the cameras were still rolling. Today, the New York Times published an early review that hints at what those cameras captured.
The film overflows with juicy moments about Mr. Weiner. As the second scandal unfolds in July 2013, Mr. Weiner is shown panicking; misleading the news media; and, at one point, racing through the back halls of a McDonald’s to avoid a woman with whom he traded inappropriate texts, whom his campaign code-named “Pineapple.”
Weiner reportedly places special emphasis on the role of Abedin, a longtime Hillary Clinton aide who is one of the candidate’s closest confidants. When the scandal broke, she remained calm and instructed staffers to do so as well.
When a young campaign staff member, on the verge of tears after the revelations and ensuing media harassment, prepared to leave the couple’s Park Avenue apartment, Ms. Abedin offered some advice. “Just a quick optics thing?” she said to the woman. “I assume those photographers are still outside. So, you will look happy?” The staff member agreed.