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Paddy Wagon - what's the fuss

You have to hand it to NY1 News. While on a visit to her hometown, Birmingham, Alabama, Virginia Fields recounted the march in 1963 when she was arrested with Dr. Martin Luther King.

She remarked how she and others were put into the "paddywagon," a term that while may have had its roots in the insensitive treatement of the Irish, but for all intents and purposes is solidly ensconced in mainstream American discourse.

While there's a lot to question of Ms. Fields' character and readiness to be Mayor, this is not one of those issues, especially as neither NY1 reporter Frick or Frack (Dominic Carter and Davidson Goldin)--who are fanning these flames--are Irish.

Probably what does further damage to the Fields' candidacy, is that she's apologizing for it!

In his famous "I've been to the Mountaintop" speech of April 3, 1968, the night before he was slain in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King himself twice referred to "paddy wagons" in Birmingham.

See his speech here (pdf file, page 3).

See NY1's report, click below:

Fields' Campaign Under Fire Again, This Time For Insensitive Remark
NY1 News
July 12, 2005

Democratic candidate for mayor C. Virginia Fields' campaign is apologizing for using the term "paddy wagon" in an interview with NY1.

In Alabama on Friday, the Manhattan borough president talked about being arrested during a civil rights protest in 1963. In her comments, she described police vans as "paddy wagons" - a term that's considered offensive by some Irish-Americans.

"We marched to mid-block at best and the paddy wagon was there and we were told we were marching without a permit and we could either turn around or we would be arrested," said Fields in the interview last Friday. "We fell on our knees and we were put into the paddy wagon."

Fields' campaign spokeswoman released a statement saying, "Obviously she did not mean to offend anyone. If she did, she is very sorry."

Fields' campaign had already been facing controversy over a campaign flier that used a doctored photo. In the wake of that incident, Fields fired her top campaign consultant, Joe Mercurio, on Friday.

Polls show her running second in the four-way Democratic primary race.