While political watchers spent last week looking ahead to primaries in Ohio and Texas, the candidates engaged in a serious debate — over a photo of Barack Obama wearing Somali clothing. (An Obama staffer claimed Hillary Clinton had leaked the shot to make him look Islamic; Clinton’s campaign manager said no one had claimed the photo was “divisive” until Obama and his new friend at the Post played it up.) Latecomer Ralph Nader, unsafe at any speed as far as most liberals are concerned, moseyed into the presidential race. Connecticut senator Christopher Dodd backed Obama; Jersey governor Jon Corzine rushed to aid the Clintons in Cleveland.
Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz landed at the top of a poll of Democratic mayoral hopefuls. A stripper named Marseilles Payne testified that police who shot Sean Bell outside Club Kalua never identified themselves as such. North Koreans applauded the New York Philharmonic’s performance of An American in Paris. (The axman of evil, playboy dictator Kim Jong Il, invited Eric Clapton to follow the Philharmonic to Pyongyang.) Mayor Bloomberg declared war against vendors selling $10 Coach bags on Canal Street as police raided 32 stores in Chinatown; he also declared, finally, that he really, truly won’t run for president.
The city rolled out competing plans for apartments overlooking the trash-strewn Gowanus Canal and proposed a Coney Island boardwalk built from recycled materials. Manhattan prosecutors dropped cop-slap charges against bikini-photo-sharing Philadelphia newsreader Alycia Lane. An NYPD officer’s wife who admitted to adultery on national TV said she wanted to reconcile. Jerry Seinfeld’s lawyers insisted that his wife’s litigious cookbook rival, Missy Chase Lapine, simply didn’t get the joke when he compared her to Mark David Chapman. Roger Clemens fell behind in the count when trying to explain his attendance at a Jose Canseco bash in 1998. And the MTA whispered that the completion of the Second Avenue subway might be experiencing delays until 2015. —Mark Adams