New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner on Tuesday vowed to institute a single-payer health care system if elected.

Weiner made the promise during a debate squaring off against his fellow Democratic mayoral candidates.

Dems Debate on WABC TV

Image: WABC-TV

“Health care is such an important job creator in New York City, it’s perhaps the largest,” Weiner said. “This is one of the reasons I’ve proposed a single-payer health care system for New York. You not only have low skilled jobs in health care, you have medium-skilled jobs in healthcare, and you have very very high-skilled jobs. And those can’t be outsourced. But we’ve seen 13 hospitals close, others that are on the precipice of closing because [current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg] has done precious little to change that.”

“I understand health care,” Weiner continued. “I’m going to fight for a single-payer system for the city that’s going to keep our $15 billion dollars worth of healthcare resources here at home, hiring local people, not giving 20 percent of it to insurance companies to take elsewhere. Healthcare is the key to jobs in New York City and with me, you’re gonna get that.”

Editor’s note: WABC’s captioning was stuck with the same message onscreen during the entire segment.

Despite efforts to focus on each candidate and the issues facing New York City, Weiner’s sexting scandal remained the elephant in the room. Moderator Bill Ritter of WABC actually gave the rest of the candidates the opportunity to weigh in on whether Weiner should stay in the race or not, leading to a testy moment between New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the disgraced ex-congressman. Ms. Quinn called out Mr. Weiner, not on his personal problems, but for his anemic legislative record in Congress. Weiner responded to all of the other candidates by attacking only Quinn, stating, “I’ve apologized for my personal behavior, the speaker refuses to apologize for overturning the will of the people, the slush fund scandal, and for the things in her professional record.”

In his closing statement, Weiner seemed to surprise opponents by claiming that everyone else onstage was too entrenched in politics to make the changes needed in city government. His challenge, gesturing to others on the stage, “If you want more of this, do not vote for me.”

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