New York: Ex-congressman and struggling mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner says a video showing him in a shouting match with a bakery customer is just an example of him putting a heckler in his place.
The two-minute video shows Mr Weiner, surrounded by reporters and campaign supporters in Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Borough Park, going back inside the bakery after someone yells, “Scumbag!”
A clearly annoyed Mr Weiner, his mouth full of honey cake, turns around and yells at the man.
“Yeah?” Mr Weiner says. “It takes one to know one, jackass.”
Mr Weiner, who quit Congress in 2011 after a sexting scandal, and the man then confront each other inside the bakery as onlookers take photos.
“You did disgusting things … you have the nerve to even walk around in public,” the man tells Mr Weiner.
“Oh, yeah? And you're a perfect person? You're my judge?” Mr Weiner responds. “What rabbi taught you that?”
In another video, released by the Weiner campaign later on Wednesday, the man can be heard saying “married to an Arab,” presumably a reference to Weiner's Muslim wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to former US secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Mr Weiner, once a front-runner among the Democratic candidates for mayor, was in the neighbourhood greeting voters ahead of the September 10 primary. Support for his campaign has collapsed amid a new sexting scandal similar to the one that forced him to resign from Congress.
Polls show Mr Weiner is now a distant fourth among the Democratic candidates seeking to replace independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who's serving the last of three consecutive terms.
Mr Weiner, who's Jewish, was buying sweet cake at the bakery ahead of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, which began on Wednesday at sundown.
Mr Weiner defended his behaviour outside a campaign stop at a Manhattan senior citizens centre after the 2-minute video gained attention online, saying he put the man in his place.
“He was saying things within my earshot but not to me and saying some pretty vile things, and apparently he didn't expect that I would not stand idly by for it, and I think I put him in his place,” Mr Weiner told reporters.
“Just because someone is running for office doesn't mean you have an unabridged right to say whatever vile, nasty thing you want.”