To hear him tell it as a newly declared candidate for mayor, former Representative Anthony D. Weiner was a force to be reckoned with on three of the most important issues to New Yorkers: public safety, affordable health insurance and treatment for rescue workers sickened at the site of the World Trade Center attack. “We can make a difference – if we’re willing to fight for it,” he says in his video announcement on YouTube. But while Mr. Weiner was known as a fighter, he was not so well known for making a difference.
Click below to jump to a fact-check:
1:22 Putting More Cops on the Beat
Mr. Weiner had tried for years to revive a Clinton-era program that let local police departments apply for grants to hire more officers; the 2009 economic stimulus package contained $1 billion to do just that, although he was not among its initial sponsors. But while viewers of his video might reasonably assume that at least some of those new officers were “on the beat” in New York, in fact the money bypassed the city in favor of places with higher crime rates and weaker economies. Mr. Weiner was left to express “outrage” that New York was “left out in the cold.”
1:26 Health Care for 9/11 First Responders
Legislation to pay for medical care for rescue workers sickened at the trade center took years to make it past Republican opposition. In the House, that push was led by Carolyn B. Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, both New York Democrats, and Peter T. King, a New York Republican. Mr. Weiner, while passionate, was not a major force in the deal making. “This thing took a lot of bipartisan effort, and that wasn’t a hallmark of Anthony Weiner’s,” said Robert Livingston, a Republican lobbyist for trade center contractors. Indeed, Mr. Weiner drew enormous attention to the issue – and to himself – by erupting in a furious tirade against Mr. King that other New York Democrats saw as needlessly damaging to a delicate effort to line up Republican support.
1:30 Real Health Care Reform
Mr. Weiner spoke out for a single-payer, “Medicare-for-all” health care system, and was sharply critical of President Obama’s decision not to pursue it. But his “campaign” was unsuccessful. Here again, Mr. Weiner’s go-it-alone style in Congress – and his razor-sharp verbal bite – earned him hours of television airtime and a national following among liberals, but little else to show for it.