Anthony Weiner chided an NBC News reporter for the second straight day Friday, telling an audience that he was only joking when he said “our brother here” should get a hobby instead of covering his besieged campaign.
On Thursday, canvassing at a Manhattan apartment building, Weiner asked the reporter what he was working on. When the reporter said he was covering the campaign, Weiner said: “Dude, you got to get a hobby.”
Weiner, a Democrat whose run for mayor of New York has been roiled by new admissions of racy online chats, was looking for votes at a senior center on Friday and wondered aloud why no one talks about what other candidates have to hide.
“Apparently our thin-skinned friends here don’t like the idea that I made a joke about having a hobby,” Weiner said, pointing to the reporter. “That’s what they want to cover.”
“You’re not allowed to have a laugh. Ask this guy,” Weiner went on. He added: “It was a joke, right, people laughed, he laughed, and they made a big deal, they say I insulted him.”
The candidate muttered to himself, “I should learn that guy’s name.”
At a later stop on a small business tour in Brooklyn, Weiner said: “I gave this guy a hard time, everyone laughed and then they did their best exposé. They’re calling it — what are they calling it? NBC Hobbygate.”
Also on Thursday, Weiner mocked a British journalist and publicly belittled his staff. He knocked on doors at the apartment building and expressed displeasure with the heavy media presence.
When he finally exited the building after finding only a few supporters who pledged him their vote, he did a brief interview with the British journalist, who works for the broadcaster ITV, in which he told her, "It's hard to take you seriously."
The reporter posed a particularly dramatic question to the former congressman, asking whether "a hunger for the big job" was what motivated him to continue his campaign in the wake of his newest round of sexting admissions.
"I just have a feeling I like stepped into a Monty Python bit," Weiner told the journalist after laughing at a question about what could stop his candidacy.
Weiner wasn't laughing when he began canvassing about an hour earlier. In front of a heavy media contingent, Weiner scolded staff for paperwork he said was disorganized.
"This is no good, the way you have this organized. This is 'NG,' not great, not great," he told a young staffer while cameras were pointed at the two. "Oh boy, this is not as well organized as I like."
Later during the tour he made the tongue-in-cheek comment that he views the press as "just one big cuddly collection of humanity. I think of you all fondly."
A few residents did say they would support the embattled candidate in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary. No one confronted him over the lewd-text messages that have come to define his mayoral run.
Weiner has tried to make up for falling poll numbers after his admission that he had continued the inappropriate Internet activities that caused him to resign from Congress in 2011.
"I'm not asking to be your fourth for doubles tennis, I'm not asking to be your husband … I'm not asking to be your father," he told a crowd earlier Thursday. "I'm asking to be the person who every day wakes up and says: How do I make life better for the people of this city?"
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