Anthony Weiner's Running for Mayor but He's Already Down 10 Points

Prepare thy self, oh snark-happy Internet.  Anthony Weiner is back online.

The ex-congressman whose career imploded in a rash of raunchy tweets two years ago said in a YouTube video announcement late Tuesday that he's in the New York City mayoral race. He'd said last month he was considering it.

"I made some big mistakes and I know I let a lot of people down, but I also learned some tough lessons," he said in the video. "I'm running for mayor because I've been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life. And I hope I get a second chance."

With that, Weiner is embarking on an audacious comeback quest, hoping to go from punch line pol whose tweeted crotch shot was emblazoned on the nation's consciousness to leader of America's biggest city.

The video appeared late Tuesday and has since been added to his website.

The Democrat is jumping into a crowded field for September's primary. He's arriving with some significant advantages, including a $4.8 million campaign war chest, the possibility of more than $1 million more in public matching money, polls showing him ahead of all but one other Democrat — and no end of name recognition.

According to Reuters, however, "Weiner faces an uphill battle":

A Quinnipiac University poll also released on Wednesday found Weiner in second place with 15 percent of the vote, trailing City Council Speaker Christine Quinn by 10 points. The poll also found nearly half of city voters say Weiner should not enter the race for mayor, while 38 percent of voters want to see him run.

His participation makes a runoff more likely and many political observers feel he could at least get to the second round.

But, Weiner also has continued to contend with questions about his character and the jock-pic scandal that sank his career just two years ago.

In recent interviews, he has said he shouldn't have lied -- he initially claimed his account was hacked before admitting the tweeted nether region was his --  but did it because he wanted to keep the truth from his then-pregnant wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She told The New York Times Magazine that she has forgiven him.

Weiner has taken a series of steps recently to rehab his image and reintroduce himself, including the lengthy magazine profile and a series of local TV interviews. He hasn't responded to interview requests from The Associated Press.

He also has released a platform of sorts, a list of ideas styled as a blueprint for helping the city's middle class thrive. He's made a point of highlighting one or more of the concepts on most days, via his newly revived Twitter presence.

The suggestions, some of them updates from a mayoral run he nearly made in 2009, range from giving every public school student a Kindle reader to using Medicaid money to create a city-run, single-payer health system for the uninsured.

Some seem to draw on his Washington experience, such as making more use of a federal cigarette-smuggling law. Others fall squarely within City Hall, including suggestions to create a "nonprofit czar" in city government and eliminate paid positions for parent coordinators in schools.

The document also opens a window on a vision of the city — a place with "a can-do attitude, competitive spirit and aggressive nature" — that sounds not unlike Weiner himself. He was known during his seven terms in Washington as a vigorous defender of Democratic viewpoints, unafraid to get combative whether it was on cable TV or the House floor, and as a tireless and instinctive politician.

"Anybody who underestimates Anthony Weiner's ambition is a fool. And anybody who underestimates his ability as a candidate is a fool," retired Hunter College political science professor Kenneth Sherrill said. But "we're going to see, basically, if Weiner can take hits as well as he can dish them out."

In seeking a second chance from the public, Weiner will have to overcome some voters' misgivings. In a recent NBC New York-Marist Poll, half said they wouldn't even consider him, though the survey also showed that more registered Democrats now have a favorable than unfavorable impression of him.

Weiner can expect opponents to hammer at his prior prevaricating, and he said in a recent interview on the RNN cable network that he couldn't guarantee that no more pictures or people would emerge. These opponents include City Councilman Sal Albanese; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Comptroller John Liu; City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; the Rev. Erick Salgado, a pastor; and former Comptroller Bill Thompson on the Democrtic side.

Republican contenders include billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota and homelessness-aid organization head George McDonald. Former White House housing official Aldolfo Carrion Jr., a Democrat who recently dropped his party affiliation, is running on the Independence Party line and also interested in the Republican nomination.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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