Liberal Piers Morgan is still fond of the twice-disgraced Anthony Weiner and is wondering if he'll make another comeback after the present New York mayoral race.
"Having said all this, there's something about Anthony Weiner I can't help liking. He's a very intelligent guy," Morgan admitted on his Monday show. "I've seen him make speeches at big events where he's brought the house down and been very funny and very charming. And whenever I've had to deal with him myself, I've always liked the guy." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
BuzzFeed's Ben Smith appeared with Morgan to discuss his interview with Weiner, and Smith actually gave Weiner advice on how he should have handled his sexting scandal.
"I asked him, you know, why didn't you just say, you know, 'this is what I do. Live with it.' Lots of New Yorkers do lots of strange things, that in fact, like New York is not known for having mayors with particularly conventional personal lives."
Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on Piers Morgan Live on August 12 at 9:32 p.m. EDT:
PIERS MORGAN: Let's go to the second clip. This was one that I thought was a brilliant question, could only have come from somebody who runs something like BuzzFeed with tech geek know-how that you have. This is about Snapchat. Let's watch this.
BEN SMITH: The one question that actually I got most from like BuzzFeed staff and the internet was – was why not use Snapchat?
WEINER: I don't have a good answer for that.
SMITH: Um. Okay.
(End Video Clip)
MORGAN: I mean, that was a fantastic question. For viewers who do not know what Snapchat is. It's – it's an application you can get on your phone that you can take any pictures you like and send them. But they disintegrate completely into the ether, untraceable after 10 seconds, which, if you're Anthony Weiner, you would have thought it's Christmas come early.
SMITH: Yeah, it's sort of made for sexting, among other things, and launched right around the time that he was kind of launching his second wave of these things, that got him in all this trouble this time around, I mean, which he did on this obscure platform called Formspring. I don't – I don't know how he wound up there.
I mean, I do think one -- you know, one of the interesting things is that I think a lot of people, maybe of your age, of my age, mid-30s, even, you know, think that what he did is in some way kind of weird. You know, there is this recent study from the University of Rhode Island, 78 percent of college kids have basically exchanged sexually-charged texts in some way or another, like I – I think for a lot of our audience, like the – the form that this took was not particularly weird. And the notion that he's being pilloried for the digital element of this seems kind of strange –
MORGAN: Yeah, but the two – yes, but the two – the two weird points, I think, that I would say about Anthony Weiner, one is that he never met any of these women or knew anything about them before he did all of this, which seems incredibly high-risk, never mind anything else.
And secondly, the fact that even when he was brought crashing to his political knees and had to resign, we now discovered that he carried on after that with at least three more women. Again, a grave risk not only to his career, but to his marriage. I mean, on one level, you've got to admire just the fact that he just doesn't seem to care.
MORGAN: – but on the other, how can you – yeah, go on.
SMITH: I mean, you know, I asked him, you know, why didn't you just say, you know, this is what I do. Live with it. Lots of New Yorkers do lots of strange things, that in fact, like New York is not known for having mayors with particularly conventional personal lives. I mean, I think David Dinkins is the only mayor in memory who was like married to his wife and stayed that way. So he could, you know, that's not the route he chose. But yeah, and I think – the thing there's sort of a – he had this sense and, one of our editors, Summer Burton wrote a piece today about how, you know, for – for young people to -- the internet is very real.
There's no sense of a difference between something that happens online and something that happens in real life. But for Anthony, it almost felt like he – he thought this was this other alternate universe, right – that wasn't real, where there weren't real people, where this stuff could stay secret. Instead, you know, this woman, you know, turned, pivoted, and turned around and cashed in on every ounce of – of her relationship with him.
MORGAN: I mean, finally, I guess the reality of politics, it's the latest New York Times/Siena College poll, it's about who you would want as NYC mayoral nominee among Democratic registered voters, the key ones obviously for Weiner. Christine Quinn ahead at 25 percent, Anthony Weiner down to 10 percent. I mean, of that trend, you've got say, his chances are somewhere between no hope and Bob Hope.
SMITH: You know, look at that poll. I mean, it's – it's a runoff system, the top two get in, not that big a difference between 10 percent and 14 percent. So I don't think that means he's out of the running. I mean, that said, in that poll, like 75 percent of people have a negative impression of him. And that is terrible and very hard to overcome.
MORGAN: Having said all this, there's something about Anthony Weiner I can't help liking. He's a very intelligent guy. I've seen him make speeches at big events where he's brought the house down and been very funny and very charming. And whenever I've had to deal with him myself, I've always liked the guy. Does he have a future outside of the New York mayoral campaign later? Could he make another comeback?
SMITH: I asked him that. He seemed not to be able to imagine anything beyond next month. I don't know. I mean, I think if he – if he finishes at five percent, maybe not, if it seems like he made a decent showing and the voters ultimately forgave him, you know, there's a – I mean, he's already proven that there are second acts and maybe there's a third.
MORGAN: Well, Ben Smith, it was a great interview, electrifying to watch, actually in many ways. Congratulations on that.
MORGAN: I love the straight talking. I'm a bit worried about my job after that. But it was – it was -- it was good to watch and a fascinating insight into Weiner. He just seemed like he'd lost a little bit of his own, I thought – just something about his demeanor in the interview I felt was a bit of loser suddenly.
SMITH: Yeah, I've talked to him before – he always had fun fighting with me. He didn't even insult me until 15 minutes in, it felt like, you know, where are you?
MORGAN: (Laughing) Well, Ben, congratulations. And thanks for joining me. I appreciate it.