New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s campaign has had to apologize for a gay slur being used by one of his supporters to describe Christine Quinn in what could end up being a rough start to the campaign for Weiner.
The story goes that Weiner wanted the signature of this particular woman in order to get his name on the ballot. The disgraced Congressman asked the elderly lady if she is a registered Democrat, and she replied “I am…And I’m not voting for uh, what’s her name? The dyke.”
Weiner then says, at first, Okay. I just need you to sign the petition to get me on the ballot.” Apparently, it wasn’t until he noticed the shocked reporter standing nearby that he said “And you really shouldn’t talk that way about people.”
The woman then said “Oh, I’m sorry.” Quizzically, Weiner then said “It’s okay…It’s not your fault.”
In trying to explain this all away, Weiner stated “Let me make it clear that when I heard the person make a remark, it was in a scrum of literally dozens of people around me on a street corner. When I heard that woman make that remark, I immediately admonished her not to say anything further I have no memory of saying anything beyond that to the woman.”
He then went on to say “Let me make it very clear that any other incidence of any type of slur against any community, I won’t tolerate. I think I’ve got a very long record going back to my first days running for Congress in a conservative district, endorsing gay marriage in 1998. I feel very strongly about these issues and I did admonish the woman and if there was something else that was said that was anyway interpreted as anything else, that was wrong. I admonished the woman and I don’t believe she should have said what she said.”
And finished by saying “I worked my entire career to–in an often very conservative environment, in a district that had a heavy Orthodox Jewish and religious Catholic constituency–to embrace the ideas of civil liberties for all people. I was one of the earliest endorsers of gay marriage in the New York congressional delegation. And I think that what was said was wrong and I said it at the time. Any other impression that might have been left was wrong. I admonish it.”
Now, that’s a lot of admonishment. Now, yes, we all know about Weiner’s record, but there comes a point where you sound less like you’re being apologetic and more like you got caught with your hand in a cookie jar. A far better explanation would have been to say ‘Look, I could barely hear her. She’s elderly. I just didn’t want to get into an argument. So I was just going to let it slide because I wasn’t quite sure what she said, and honestly, as bad as what she said is, she’s elderly and we sometimes have to put up with the elderly saying embarrassing things.”
For her part, the woman who the epithet was directed towards, Weiner’s rival Christine Quinn, said “I think it is incredibly important for all New Yorkers, but particularly those in public life, to make very clear that in this city — the most diverse city in the world, the city where the LGBT civil rights movement was born — that that type of language cannot be tolerated.” She did say that Weiner had called her to clarify the situation.