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Since he launched his campaign two weeks ago, former Representative Anthony Weiner had yet to face in-person backlash against his mayoral aspirations. His inaugural subway trip from Harlem to the West Village was met with questions rather than taunts; his support for teachers in the Bronx was welcomed by the pro-teachers crowd; his debate presence at NYU last week became a media circus, not a media outcry. Until yesterday: At the Israel Day Parade, where Weiner appeared as the only Jewish mayoral candidate, the politician faced jeers. Except it’s another case in this race of small, blown-up events versus realities of the Big Picture.
“Tweet me a picture, Weiner! Tweet me a picture, Weiner!”
The line was one of several tossed at the candidate yesterday as he made his way down Fifth Avenue holding the Israeli flag and a bullhorn. It was a reference, of course, to the cybersexting scandal that forced his resignation two years ago. It was the main line of attack from the parade’s bystanders towards their former Congressman; one with the underlining theme of “If he can’t get his dick pics in order, how can he can run City Hall?” This included a confrontation by an older man who asked, “Are you Weiner?” and, after finding out it was Weiner, stormed off in frustration.
This marked the first test of Weiner’s public persona in this race and it came from a group of people that share his religious identification. Though it wasn’t at all jeers: Weiner was met with high-fives and other encouragement, too.
Last week, we covered a poll that displayed Weiner’s rise in this race: In a months’ time, the former Congressman had announced his campaign and gained on Christine Quinn’s frontrunner stronghold, falling behind only by several percentage points. However, that survey had another ring to it. Of Jewish voters, Weiner has about a quarter of their support on lock, placing him 8 points or so in front of Quinn. For a candidate who has made his pro-Israel platform, as well as his relationships with New York’s Jewish leaders, well known, the connection to that community still shows itself in the polls.
The question now is whether this backlash at the Israel Day Parade a general concern of the Jewish community, or just an isolated group who still hasn’t forgotten about Twitter?