(This from The Politicker’s Jess Bruder, back from Burning Man. Really.)

Tonight’s mayoral debate, the last before the Democratic primary on Tuesday, looked less like girding for battle and more like, well, a group hug.

The ultimate softball question — does Ferrer truly want to be mayor? — led to a touchy-feely interlude that had all the candidates touting Freddy’s passion in a cheerful chorus, like a round of rhetorical Kumbaya.

With characteristic coolness, Freddy replied (yet again) that he has enough fire in his belly “to melt concrete.” (What is concrete doing in his belly? Don’t ask me — I’m still digesting fruit from the ABC Green Room’s generous spread.)

Of course, the candidates offered plenty of fodder for tomorrow’s truth squads to tweeze over. Virginia claimed credit for making the 2nd Ave. subway a campaign issue. Giff assumed responsibility for a whole smorgasbord of Bloomberg combat in the City Council. Freddy touted the contentious 50%-plus high school drop-out figure yet again. And Anthony reiterated his proposal to cut waste by 5%.

The biggest irony of all, however, may have come in Anthony’s promise not to “bring library books to a knife fight.” Tonight, it seems, the Dems were all packing pillows. But with a possible run-off in the making, this could be one short-lived slumber. Please wake me on Tuesday.

And a postcript on the theme of killer kindness:

After the debate, I asked Virginia, “Is ‘nice’ a pejorative?” A staffer laughed; Virginia smiled broadly, didn’t seem to quite follow, and scanned the room. But help was not forthcoming. Big pause. Finally, she answered merrily: “I guess so!”