Monday, July 13, 2009

Howard Wolfson, Anthony Weiner And Huma Abedin

(image via gothamist)

Not too long ago there were stories of models and Congressman Anthony Weiner running. Conflicting reports of foreign contributions by catwalkers and modelizing as well as anti-model discrimination were all hinted at rather obliquely. On the cusp of his candidacy for NYC Mayor they seemed rather mysterious. Where did they come from? What did it all eman? Clearly, they rattled the otherwise stoic Weiner campaign. Apparently Howard Wolfson, former guru of the Clinton campaign, is owning up to the attacks. From The New York Times:

"This year, Mr. Bloomberg is again spending tens of millions of dollars to run for re-election on the Republican ballot line against a Democratic opponent. But this time, Mr. Wolfson is a senior architect of the effort.

"Mr. Wolfson’s conversion has become a source of fascination and dismay among New York Democrats, who are now on the other end of the cutting brand of politics he perfected as a chief strategist for Hillary Rodham Clinton. In the city, he is credited in political circles with pressuring Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a Democrat, to quit the mayor’s race. The switch has been cited as an example of how the billionaire mayor, who is prepared to spend as much as $100 million of his own money to win a third term, can buy the silence of even his most ardent critics — an assertion summarily dismissed by Mr. Wolfson, whose consulting firm is earning $40,000 a month from the campaign.

"... Mr. Wolfson claimed his first Democratic scalp in May, as Mr. Weiner — once a close ally in the Clinton campaigns — dropped out of the mayoral race amid a Wolfson-led behind-the-scenes campaign to force him to do just that.

Working with a local press corps he had cultivated for years, Mr. Wolfson and his team dug up and then pushed a steady stream of politically damaging tidbits about Mr. Weiner, giving the congressman an early taste of what he might face come the fall.

"In one instance, Mr. Wolfson’s team discovered that Mr. Weiner had introduced a bill making it easier for foreign-born fashion models to work in the United States. In New York’s tabloid news culture — one Mr. Wolfson navigates well — the discovery produced unflattering news stories packaged with photographs of the congressman and sultry exotic models.

"No matter that Mr. Weiner was someone Mr. Wolfson dispatched frequently as a surrogate against President Obama during last year’s primaries, or that Mr. Weiner’s fiancĂ©e, Huma Abedin, is a confidante of Mrs. Clinton’s whom Mr. Wolfson once considered a friend."

Congressman Weiner and Huma Abedin announced their engagement over the weekend -- as the Times story hit newsstands.

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