Jimmy Siegel, the guy who crafted ads for Hillary Clinton, Eliot Spitzer Spitzer and John Liu, tells me the kind of ad he’d run for a certain embattled congressman.
Jimmy Siegel: “I think what I would say is, something along the lines of ‘Hey, it’s what being in New York is all about. You get up, you fuck up, you fall down, you get up, you keep going. You make mistakes, you keep going, and that’s what New York is all about.’
“I would sort of couch it in a, sort of, New York thing.
“We all fuck up, we all fall down, we all make mistakes, but you get up and you keep going and that’s what’s great about the city and that’s what’s great about me.’
“Something along those lines.”
Azi Paybarah: “Do you do that with any humor?”
Jimmy Siegel: “No no no no no no no. No you don’t do it with any tinge of humor. This is not a humorous sort of thing.
“Refer to it somewhat obliquely. Certainly don’t refer to it directly.
“Talk about what kind of guy is Anthony Weiner. He’s a guy like the a lot of us. Sometimes he screws up, but he gets up and he keeps fighting and he keeps fighting for you.”
Azi Paybarah: Anthony Weiner straight to camera? Or do you have people talking about him?
Jimmy Siegel: “Probably, I don’t think you have him speaking to camera, no. This is two years down the line. You don’t sit there and talk about the mistakes he’s made.
“I think you have shots of Anthony doing what he does: sleeves rolled up, hard-working guy, fighting for his constituents, high energy, and you have some sort of New York voice saying ‘Come on, this is a New Yorker, you know? We aint perfect. We screw up. We make mistakes. We get up. We keep fighting.’ ”
Update: A smart reader reminds me that Siegel is, in essence, describing the ad David Garth had John Lindsay do years earlier, when the embattled mayor was seeking re-election after a rocky stewardship that saw labor strikes and, in hindsight, the first convulsions of urban decay.
In the ad, Lindsay said:
‘I guessed wrong on the weather before the city’s biggest snowfall last winter. And that was a mistake. But I put 6,000 more cops on the streets. And that was no mistake. The school strike went on too long and we all made some mistakes. But I brought 225,000 more jobs to this town. And that was no mistake… And we did not have a Detroit, a Watts or Newark. And those were no mistakes. The things that go wrong are what make this the second toughest job in America. But the things that go right are those things that make me want it.’