Just a few months ago, Anthony Weiner looked like he could be the next mayor of New York City, but now he has to pay actors to pretend to be supporters on the street and use interns to play supporters on TV. Weiner's campaign hired a rent-a-crowd company, the New York Post reports, citing "a source with direct knowledge of the deal," though Weiner's campaign denies it. Actors from Crowds on Demand were paid $15 an hour to show up for Weiner at the Dominican Day Parade on August 11. Weiner's campaign asked them to act "like either supporters or people who met him and became supporters as a result of that encounter." But the company would not instruct the the actors to take on hecklers, "fearing liability if there was violence." Update: Weiner claims the story is a hoax:
Ah, source of fake NYPost story becomes clearer. Staff just spoke to company that pulled hoax. Let's see if they retract.— Anthony Weiner (@anthonyweiner) August 28, 2013
Original post: That follows the New York Daily News' report on Tuesday that some of the "regular new Yorkers" in one of Weiner's newest TV ads are his interns. The ad features 18-year-old Joel Acevedo, an unpaid intern, and Mary Elizabeth Elkordy, a former Weiner intern, among several other people expressing support for the candidate. Weiner's spokesman "pointed out that none of the people in the ad were ever paid by Weiner," the Daily News reports. It's hard being an intern.
According to the most recent poll, Weiner's support has plummeted, putting him in third place in the Democratic primary behind Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn. The former congressman released a few ads this week, which The Hill called a "last-ditch healthcare ad blitz to save his campaign." They subtly address his sexting scandal. "Personal life don't reflect on your work life," a woman says in the intern ad. (She has not been reported to be an intern.) Another new Weiner ad, this one in Spanish, tells voters "Anthony Weiner deserves a second chance… The private life of a candidate is not important to me."