Sunday, April 10, 2005

41 Self-Inflicted Shots

Freddie Ferrer is done.


Ferrer spoke at Al Sharpton's National Action Network mayoral candidate's forum on Friday. Audience members laughed and hooted at Freddie's attempts to explain away the comments he made to a Sergeants Benevolent Association group on March 15th about the Amadou Diallo shooting. Ferrer had told the police organization that he didn't think the Diallo shooting was a crime and there had been an attempt to "overindict" the police in the case.

Those comments created an immediate furor for the Ferrer campaign. His poll numbers plummeted against his Democratic rivals in the week after he made the comments. Ferrer tried to explain the comments again Friday, saying "I'm not a lawyer" when asked whether he thought the Diallo shooting was a crime.

Many in the crowd were not receptive to Freddie's explanations. One man told Ferrer he would not vote for him and a chorus of other audience members called out in agreement.

It was not a good afternoon for Ferrer.

I get the feeling that the Diallo comments and Ferrer's attempts to explain them have become watershed moments for the Ferrer campaign. It goes without saying that the initial comments weren't the smartest words to ever come out of Ferrer's mouth. As one of the audience members at Friday's forum pointed out to Ferrer, "Why would you support the police sergeants? Ninety percent of them don't even live in the City of New York and don't even vote in the City of New York. And now you appeased them and turned your back on us."

No, Freddie has not handled "damage control mode" very well. Not when the story is still showing up in the papers on April 8th, more than three weeks after he made the original comments.

While Ferrer deals with the Diallo comments fallout, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields is rapidly closing the gap in the polls between Ferrer and herself and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller is adding more and more campaign donations to his war chest (he leads all Democrats in donations). Ferrer better change the subject soon or he's got his campaign theme song for '05: American Skin (41 Self-Inflicted Shots)

I don't care who wins the Democratic Primary as long as he or she can send Mayor Moneybags packing on a permanent Bermuda Vacation come November. Just watching Ferrer deal with the Diallo controversy makes me think Bloomberg will make short work of him in the fall when he unleashes $8 million dollars of negative advertising.

I don't know if Gifford Miller or Anthony Weiner can win in either the primaries or the general election. I don't know if Virginia Fields can win in November. I don't know if Mayor Moneybags can make people forget he's a multi-billionaire who loves helping out his fellow multi-billionaires at taxpayers' expense.

I do know Freddie Ferrer's done. Friday's pathetic performance at Sharpton's forum proves it.

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