Weiner’s Defenders and His Critics Stand Their Ground

Anthony D. Weiner asked for a second chance, but are New Yorkers in a forgiving mood?

In a poll taken before Mr. Weiner announced his New York mayoral candidacy on Wednesday morning, 49 percent of voters disapproved of his entering the race, while 38 percent approved. When we asked New York Times readers whether his lewd Internet behavior and subsequent resignation in 2011 influenced their view of him as a candidate for mayor, Mr. Weiner’s critics were strident, his defenders steady in their support.

“If he were my friend, I certainly wouldn’t judge him too harshly for what he did, and would have sympathy for his circumstance,” said MB of New York. “But he’s not my friend. He’s someone who wants to represent the city I love. And I want the person in that position to be someone who can bring (at least a little) dignity to the job.”

“So he had a lapse in judgement. Who among us has not?” said JD of New York. “In fact I believe there are many of these lapses which never surface and life goes on. Who wants to be judged by their worst moments in life when in fact the majority of their life has been good and decent?”

Those who said they would not consider voting for him have not accepted the redemption appeal Mr. Weiner has made to voters.

“He has already proven to be a liar. I will not vote for him,” Elena Luongo said on Facebook.

“He displayed abominably poor judgment and the maturity of a 14-year-old boy, both of which render him completely unsuitable for service in this extremely challenging job that requires someone of a much higher personal and professional caliber than Mr. Weiner,” Beth White said on Facebook.

“I know (from the scandal) that he can’t see the consequences of his own actions, that he acts impulsively, and that he sexually harassed (at least) one young woman,” Anne Murphy said on Facebook. “Not really qualities I’m looking for in a mayor.”

Those willing to look past the scandal have either forgiven or minimized the importance of it.

“He did a stupid thing, but what I care about is his politics,” said a commenter named Sheila from the East Village. “His passion for health care reform and his progressive position on many issues showed leadership. He is intelligent and articulate. I assume he’s learned from his mistakes and I’m not interested in scrutinizing his private life. It’s private.”

“His personal failings are a blip on the radar and largely irrelevant to the question of his capacity to be a good mayor,” said Dan Mims on Facebook.

R.G. on Twitter said: “If Bill Clinton can come back from a scandal, who’s to say he can’t? If he’s right for the job that’s all that matters.”

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