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Disgraced Weiner announces NYC mayor bid

Anthony Weiner, pictured in Brooklyn on June 16, 2011
Anthony Weiner, the disgraced ex-US congressman forced to resign after tweeting lewd photos of himself to women, pictured in Brooklyn on June 16, 2011, announced Wednesday he is running for mayor of New York.

Anthony Weiner, the disgraced ex-US congressman forced to resign after tweeting lewd photos of himself to women, announced Wednesday he is running for mayor of New York.

The unlikely comeback, which Weiner has been talking about for months, was announced in an online video posted in the middle of the night.

Weiner, 48, in the two minute film said he has learned from his mistakes and asked voters for a second chance.

"Look, I made some big mistakes, and I know I let a lot of people down. But I've also learned some tough lessons," he said in a video interspersed with images of every day life in New York City.

"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 to work for you."

The video sought to portray Weiner as an average family man with deep roots in the city, invoking his mother, who taught for years in New York's schools, and his father who had a thriving law practice here.

The video also showed Weiner's wife Huma Abedin at his side, extolling Weiner's qualifications to hold the city's highest office.

"We love this city, and no one will work harder to make it work better than Anthony," says Abedin -- Hillary Clinton's top aide during her time as secretary of state -- looking lovingly at her husband.

There is even a brief cutaway in the film to the couple's toddler son Jordan, who was born shortly after the scandal erupted.

Weiner was once seen as a frontrunner to replace billionaire Michael Bloomberg in November elections to the Big Apple's City Hall. Bloomberg will complete his third and final term in office in December.

But Weiner's hard-charging political career in the US House of Representatives imploded in 2011 with the X-rated Twitter scandal.

The Democrat initially claimed his Twitter account had been hacked and he had not sent the pictures.

He finally admitted the truth and also said that for several years he'd been in racy exchanges via text messages and Twitter with women that he never met.

Last month, Weiner reopened a Twitter account in an apparent political comeback drive.

Also last month, the former lawmaker and his wife were splashed across the cover of the New York Times magazine in a lengthy piece which he floated his potential return to politics, ahead of Wednesday's bombshell announcement.

The magazine piece also interviewed a pollster Weiner has been working with, David Binder, who told the Times that surveys show voters here appear willing to forgive and forget the embarrassing sexting scandal.

"There was this sense of 'Yeah, he made a mistake. Let's give him a second chance," Binder said.

"But there are conditions on that, and there are a couple of things we're going to want to know: What have you been doing since this incident occurred? Did you learn anything from this mistake? How did you deal with it?' They want to know that they've put it behind them," he told the Times.

As he continued to raise his profile, Weiner recently retweeted a document several week ago entitled "64 ideas to keep new york the capital of the middle class." He sent another on Earth Day quickly luring more than 5,000 followers.

In Wednesday's video, which appears on his Facebook page and on his website, anthonyweiner.com, he promises to focus on middle class issues like rising rents and disappearing jobs.

The already crowded field in the New York mayoral race is led by current City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, according to polls. The Democrat would be the city's first female mayor and the first openly declared homosexual to hold the office.

Weiner enters the race with campaign coffers already brimming, having collected $4.2 million before the sexting scandal.

That would make him the second best funded Democratic contender after Quinn, who according to campaign finance reports has $5.8 million.

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