NEW YORK CITY — Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner ended months of speculation by announcing his bid to become New York City mayor Tuesday in a two-minute YouTube video that only briefly addressed the scandal that unseated him from his former post.
Weiner, who once represented Brooklyn neighborhoods from Park Slope to Brownsville, pitches himself in the video as a native New Yorker who will fight for a declining middle class. It touts his accomplishments in Congress between 1999 and 2011, when he resigned.
As a legislator, Weiner distinguished himself as brash and outspoken, but he resigned after he tweeted a photo of himself in his underwear to a woman in Seattle. He denied having done so for several days but copped to the lewd behavior when other online indiscretions came to light.
“Look, I made some big mistakes, and I know I let a lot of people down," Weiner says in the video launching his mayoral campaign.
"But I’ve also learned some tough lessons."
Weiner kept to the sidelines of politics after his resignation, but rumors began circulating in early 2013 that he was seriously considering a mayoral bid. He all but declared his intention in an extensive profile of him and his wife, Huma Abedin, published by The New York Times in April.
Abedin, a close aide to Hillary Clinton, appears alongside Weiner in the campaign video, which also contains footage of their young son and Weiner's parents, in what may be a move to tout family values as a way of quelling voters' residual uneasiness after the scandal.
"We love this city and no one will work harder to make it better than Anthony," Abedin says in the video, sitting alongside her husband.
The announcement video was posted prematurely, according to the Times, which noted that it was went online without fanfare in the middle of the night. It was briefly taken down, and then posted again a short while later.
Weiner, who had a national profile even before his scandal, is well positioned in the already crowded field of mayoral contenders, according to Quinnipiac University polling data released hours after he launched his campaign.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, long favored to win the Democratic primary, still led the pack, picking up 25 percent of registered Democrats, according to the poll.
Weiner polled second with 15 percent, but was trailed close behind by former City Comptroller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who each picked up 10 percent, Quinnipiac reported.
In the video, Weiner partly blames the decline of New York's middle class on over-regulation and skyrocketing rents.
"I'm running for mayor because I've been fighting for the middle class and those struggling to make it my entire life," Weiner says in the video. "I hope I get a second chance to work for you."