« Downtown Community Board vents anger at Virginia Fields | Main | Fields chops head on Community Board 2 »

Fields dumb at charge she's dull

Perhaps the most lasting damage from John Kerry's 2004 loss to George Bush, in terms of local politics, is that C. Virginia Fields was not able to move to Washington to head some obscure agency as she desparately desired. She could have been out-of-site and out-of-mind. But Kerry's loss is our nightmare. If it weren't for Freddy Ferrer's slip-up on Diallo, she might still be considered as viable a candidate as Abe Hirschfeld. And we're guessing that political need is driving her recent attempts to capitalize on the Diallo tragedy even as it comes to light her protestations in 1999 were as lightweight as her gravitas is now.

Sharpton is, of course, playing the endorsement game for all it's worth. Fields' claim that Shapton's reluctance to endorse has something to do with her sucking-up to John Kerry. But according to today's New York Times (click below for the article), Fields won't answer the question cited by Sharpton that she's just plain utterly dull.

April 22, 2005
Fields Says Sharpton Is Playing Payback

New York Times

A day after the Rev. Al Sharpton said that he would not endorse any of the candidates in the Democratic primary for mayor because none of them had a clear enough message, C. Virginia Fields, one of the candidates, took a gentle potshot at him, suggesting he was repaying the candidates for their lack of support in his 2004 presidential campaign.

"We respect the Rev. Al Sharpton and would have welcomed his endorsement," said a statement released by Ms. Fields's campaign, "but it comes as no surprise to us that he has decided not to endorse any of the four candidates. As he has pointed out, none of the Democratic candidates for mayor of New York City supported his bid for the presidency."

Ms. Fields, the Manhattan borough president and the only black candidate in the race, campaigned for John Kerry in the primaries and the general election. Her associates say she had hoped for a position in his administration. Her opponents in the primary backed other presidential candidates or sat the campaign out.

Fernando Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president, did not endorse any presidential candidate in the primaries because he did not want to insert the nonprofit organization he headed, the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, into the race, a spokesman said. Representative Anthony D. Weiner endorsed Gen. Wesley K. Clark and the City Council speaker, Gifford Miller, supported Howard Dean.

None of the mayoral candidates chose to share Ms. Fields's sentiments about Mr. Sharpton's decision; her campaign spokesman, Nick Charles, said her statement should not be interpreted as an attack on Mr. Sharpton.

"She said it because that's the reason he gave originally," Mr. Charles said, adding that Ms. Fields had told him that she had heard Mr. Sharpton's remark about the lack of support for his presidential campaign at an unspecified event. Mr. Sharpton's aides did not dispute that he had made the remark.

As for the reason Mr. Sharpton gave in an interview on Wednesday with The New York Times - that no candidate had a compelling message - Mr. Charles said that Ms. Fields was "kind of ignoring that because she won't even answer that question."

Ms. Fields, he said, did not plan to actively court Mr. Sharpton but would accept his endorsement if he chose to give it.

In response to Ms. Fields's statement, Rachel Noerdlinger, a spokeswoman for Mr. Sharpton, reiterated his position that the candidates were not "bringing forth compelling, winning strategies and ideas."

In the meantime, Mr. Miller, the Council speaker, spoke of endorsements by prominent black religious leaders. However, one minister listed by his campaign, the Rev. Clint Miller of Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Brooklyn, said he had issued no such endorsement.

Gifford Miller's campaign said later that the minister had promised his support, but then got "cold feet."