That Was a Debate?

Once again, it’s easy to pity the daily newspaper reporters who have to tease coherence out of a debate that seemed oddly detached from the urgency and clarity that usually sets in six days before a primary.

From well-stocked press room at NBC’s Rockefeller Center studio, the candidates seemed to be carefully balancing their supposed voting blocs, and they hardly engaged each other — bar a garbled shot from Miller at Weiner for confusing capital and expense budgets.

The 25-second (!) answers, meanwhile, weren’t enough to draw out shades of difference on issues like bilingual education, and drew a question from one reporter during post-debate spin as to whether the whole thing hadn’t been a bit “bizarre.”

And neither the debate nor the advance-man’s nightmare of an ambush that followed it addressed what looks like a campaign-finance crisis in Miller’s campaign, though Gifford seemed a bit off his game.

It was Anthony who engaged in one bit of positioning for a run-off with Freddy: asked whom he would support if he is eliminated, he chose Virginia, who did not return the favor.

Afterward, Weiner explained why he would support her: first of all, Fields is “affable and charming,” the former a quality he declined to apply to himself.