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Until today, the world had not heard a peep from the once-loquacious Anthony Weiner for nearly two years. In a June 2011 press conference, the married, then-congressman owned up to a number of inappropriate email relationships, and a tangled web of lies he had spun to conceal them.
"The person I experienced was deeply ambivalent and very unsure about whether he actually wants to run for office again," said Jonathan Van Meter who interviewed Weiner for a New York Times Magazine article published online Wednesday.
It all began when Weiner did something he would surely give a finger to be able to erase from history - perhaps even the very same finger he used to hit "send" on his smartphone, sending a Twitpic of his, shall we say, own personal tribute to the Washington Monument to his tens of thousands of Twitter followers, instead of to one college woman in Seattle.
Weiner claimed his computer had been hacked, but it was soon revealed that the married congressman had had racy internet exchanges with about a half dozen women. It stunned the country and more importantly his wife Huma Abdein, a top aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He resigned and seemed to have all but disappeared.
Until the New York Times interview published Wednesday morning. In it, Weiner says that he is exploring a return to public life, that he might be even ready to take a run at the mayor's seat in New York. Abedin also makes clear she is committed to her husband and their family - they have a baby boy now - and seems to also be on board.
"Talking for hours and hours to somebody like me was one way of finding out how the answers felt to these very strange questions that one has to ask," said Van Meter. "I also think he wanted to see what the reaction is to this big piece."
Van Meter added that the most surprising thing about the interview was that Weiner answered all the uncomfortable questions with relative ease.
"The easiest ones would seem to be, 'Do you want to run for office? Do you want to run for mayor? How will you decide whether you're going to run for office?' And those were the most difficult for him to answer," said Van Meter. "The pauses were most uncomfortably long."
At one point in the interview Weiner says: "I want to ask people to give me a second chance. I do want to have that conversation with people whom I let down and with people who put their faith in me and who wanted to support me. I think to some degree I do want to say to them, 'give me another chance.'"
The interview appears part politics, part redemption.
"I think a big part of him wants to cleanse himself of this scandal," says Van Meter. "Personally, it's hard for me to imagine that he wants this to be the last part, the last note of his public life."
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The Lead with Jake Tapper draws not only on Tapper’s deep knowledge of politics and national issues, but also seeks to examine and advance stories across a wide range of topics that demonstrate his own curiosities and interests. Compelling headlines come from around the country and the globe, from politics to money, sports to popular culture, based on news drivers of the day.
The Lead with Jake Tapper airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.
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