NEW YORK -- Only in New York?
On the eve of one of the most important days of the Jewish year, New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner got into a shouting match with a fellow New Yorker at a Jewish bakery, an exchange that was caught on video and distributed online moments after it happened.
Weiner was buying sweet treats, a tradition for Rosh Hashana, at the Weiss Family Bakery in Boro Park, and spent a few minutes in the store joking with store employees and Hasidic Jews standing in line, according to a video posted by the campaign. As he walked out the door chewing a pastry, however, he heard a man in the store call him a scumbag, and yelled back, sarcastically: “That’s a charming guy right there.”
He then criticized the man for waiting until he was leaving to say something negative, to which the man replied: “We’ll have a discussion. Come back in here, come back in here.... I’m not afraid of you.”
What proceeded is something the Weiner camp is portraying as the candidate standing up to a heckler, but which much of the media is calling a “meltdown.”
The two stand face to face, as the man tries to criticize Weiner, telling him to go home, get a job, and stay out of the public eye, while Weiner shouts in his face, asking the man who he is to judge anybody, and telling him to talk to his rabbi.
“How do you have the moral authority to judge me?” Weiner shouts.
“There are societal norms,” the man replies.
“I have fought hard for this community, delivered more than you will in your entire life,” Weiner shouts, yelling over the man.
It’s the latest turn in what has, by all accounts, been a strange mayoral campaign. Weiner, who resigned from Congress in 2011 after a sexting scandal, was a front-runner in the city race until more allegations emerged that he had continued carrying on online affairs after being forced from office. He has since slipped in the polls. New York City Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio now leads the polls, followed by New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The Democratic primary will be held Tuesday. Weiner appears set on staying in the race, despite calls for him to resign.
“In defense of me, the guy waited til I took a bite of honey cake to take a run at me,” he said Wednesday on Twitter.