Thompson: 'Dems are kicking themselves"

Nayaba Arinde | 4/12/2011, 4:35 p.m.

You can't tell Comptroller Bill Thompson anything right now...

He is the man! To hear this jovial dude tell it, losing last week's mayoral election by a mere 4.6 points to billionaire over-spender Michael Bloomberg makes HIM the man and solidifies his position as a power player not to be underestimated, you dig? Seemingly completely optimistic, Thompson urged the disillusioned to "get involved. You just saw what happened when you do get involved."

While much of the city is still trying to drag itself out of the doldrums and is stuck on "what if?," this Brooklyn-born public servant told the Amsterdam News that the 4.6 percent point loss notwithstanding, "I feel good. Still up. I haven't really been down. The only time you were really down was after it was clear that you'd lost about 10.30 or so."

Efforts to detect a hint of vexation were unsuccessful. This guy is good.

"We just ran against a two-term incumbent with complete 100 percent name recognition, who spent more money than anyone in the history of this nation, probably more than in any statewide race, more than in some other presidential races - and you came within four and half points of beating him."

But what of the dithering and sometimes absent Democrats, who just did nothing or little to assist his campaign?

"There are a bunch of them who are sitting there kicking themselves now," Thompson declared with an almost I-told-you-so air. "In spite of what everybody might have predicted, most Democrats endorsed and got on board.

"There's a lot of people who just didn't believe, who just couldn't see past the polls, who just didn't see the possibilities, who didn't understand the electorate and the people they represent. I've been saying for months that New Yorkers indicated they wanted to go in a different direction, they wanted change. And I know there is a number of people who will say, 'Well, what do you expect him to say?' People who said, 'Well, if you can just keep it under 10 points, it's a victory. I said 'Ah ah. It's not a victory, I can win this election.'"

When did you know that?

"From when I first decided to run, we were looking at our poll numbers, and when you make a decision to run, you looked at the poll numbers. You realized that some of this was a leap of faith, that Mike Bloomberg was going to spend more money than anyone had ever seen before--and he did. But early on, both the sense you got with the polls and then from the people out in the streets in the neighborhoods across the City of New York indicated that they were tired of him and wanted to go in a different direction."

Election night made nail-biters out of grown men. Within the hour of polls closing, a number of news organizations called the election for Bloomberg. That didn't change even at 10 p.m. when the numbers came out as Bloomberg with 49 percent and Thompson at 48 percent. Ultimately, by 11 p.m., the figures were announced as Bloomberg at 50.5 percent and Thompson at 46.2 percent.