New School Post-Mortem

I’ve spent this morning at the New School, where two panels of senior aides to the five major Mayoral candidates went back over campaign decisions, first the primary and then the general election, steered by ABC News’s Mark Halperin.

The event featured a little news: Bloomberg aide Bill Cunningham says of Mike’s spending, “Inflation adjusted, we might actually be spending less money [than in 2001].”

He also blew a little kiss to Shelly: “We sent flowers to Shelly Silver,” after he killed the stadium, he said. “Big red roses.”

Ferrer’s aides, mostly excepting Roberto, meanwhile, mostly conceded that their candidate is not a great communicator — “at a certain point, people don’t change,” said Ferrer campaign manager Nick Baldick — and that the campaign mishhandled the Diallo episode.

“The politically convenient way would have been to apologize and to say it was a crime,” Jef Pollock said. “[Freddy] and others rejected it…as it dragged on the performance got angrier and that didn’t really help.”

Andrew Kirtzman, meanwhile, defended the endless coverage of the story: “You crafted this incredibly lawyerly, vague answer that neither defended it or apologized….You guys kept it alive by evading the central question.”

The conversation detoured briefly into Virginia’s flyer flap. Henry Stern offered that the flap was “a substitute” for “people who had a low regard for Ms. Fields’ abilities.”

Fields campaign manager Chung Seto pointed the finger at consultant Joe Mercurio, who responded in kind:

“London ws bombed by terrorists the same day and they managed to continue the story.”

Jim Margolis marvelled a bit at the endlessness of the flap, and pointed out that the use of stock footage is common in television spots.

There was also some debunking Primary night mythology. Anthony and Freddy didn’t speak, and there wasn’t really any pressure brought to bear on Anthony to drop out.

“The last thing we wish to have in the campaign is affirmative action,” Roberto Ramirez said.

(Margolis said he and Pollock did talk that night: “Jef was less than enthusistic.”)

Concluded Mark Mellman: “The single most brilliant act by a campaign was to turn… a landslide defeat into a moral victory.”

More to come…