WHEN Lynne Abraham collapsed at the beginning of Tuesday night's debate, some of us at the Kimmel Center thought the worst. As in, you know . . . the worst.
So we all breathed a sigh of relief when the former district attorney quickly regained consciousness and sat up in a chair. Abraham later said she hadn't eaten or drunk anything all day and was likely dehydrated. Seems plausible.
But mayoral rival Doug Oliver's campaign has its doubts.
"PR stunt or for real?" Bellevue Media Group tweeted out Wednesday morning with a link to the debate story and a video of Abraham, 74, falling to the ground while state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams was answering the first question of the evening. Hashtag: #TheCollapse.
We initially thought the tweet came from Bellevue Communications Group, the Kevin Feeley-run PR shop. Not so. It was actually written by Oliver spokesman Mustafa Rashed, who used to work at Feeley's company but left to start his own similarly named shop, which is now running Oliver's campaign out of its suite in the Bellevue building.
"Guilty as charged," Rashed emailed yesterday, when asked if he sent the "stunt" tweet. Then he doubled down with a follow-up email: "New tagline: 'Nobody's Mayor But Floors.' Too soon?"
If Abraham took a dive to somehow give her an edge in the mayoral primary, that was the best flop we've seen since Vlade Divac left the NBA a decade ago.
Abraham - who, it must be noted, entered a mayoral forum Wednesday afternoon by dancing ably to 50 Cent's "In Da Club" - seems to be taking it all in stride.
"The reason why Lynne has been on such a roll since the debate is because she's one tough cookie," her campaign manager, Stuart Rosenberg, said yesterday.
Update: Oliver issued a statement this morning, responding to this column.
Speaking of Twitter, Jim Kenney hates it all of a sudden?
Kenney, who used to tweet the way ex-QB Brett "The Gunslinger" Favre played football, stood before the cameras at the debate and completely dismissed the social-networking platform as "140 characters of nonsense."
First off, councilman, if Twitter is nonsense, you're going to have to re-explain to us why you were paying $28,800 in taxpayer money to an outside contractor - Center City-based ChatterBlast - to tweet for you back in 2012, as the Daily News reported at the time with the assistance of Holly Otterbein (now a Philadelphia magazine associate editor).
That money, you might recall, was in addition to payments made to uber-flack Marty O'Rourke, who was already on your Council payroll. O'Rourke explained it to us then: "I have no clue how to tweet; I still don't understand the mechanics of it. It's a thing of the future."
But then you embraced Twitter, didn't you, councilman? You no longer needed ChatterBlast. Soon, you were watching the Flyers at Misconduct Tavern, tweeting away on your BlackBerry about Jaromir Jagr - then calling a belligerent constituent "a very large a---hole."
And he was!
"By the way d---, I am in CC if you want to tell me sumpin," you tweeted to The Moleman, a/k/a @conzmoleman, who happened to be a city employee.
Remember? It was glorious. That was the Jimmy we loved. Now it's all "nonsense?"
Sometimes, it's like we don't even know you anymore.
Forget the childhood rhyme about sticks and stones - words hurt, man.
During a heated debate on Tuesday between Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and his opponent, developer Ori Feibush, Johnson noted that Feibush had described him at an earlier debate as a nice person - a far cry from a 2013 Philadelphia magazine article that saw Feibush call Johnson a "poverty pimp" and a "terrible human being."
Feibush said that he'd been misquoted.
But Johnson's spokesman, Mark Nevins, noted that the article actually contained a plethora of Don Rickles-like jabs from Feibush, who told the magazine Mayor Nutter should have been "President Obama's 'Chief Retard' " and looked like "Shredder from Ninja Turtles."
In the article - which also saw Feibush announce that he was going to run against Johnson - the developer suggested that Jim Kenney had been drunk while engaging in an exchange with him on Facebook, and said Johnson was "somebody who actively is engaging his staff in harnessing his power for evil."
Feibush was more muted yesterday.
"I'm actively trying to elevate the conversation in this debate and talk about the issues," he said.
"The last debate more than anything clearly showed that the councilman was clearly wrong on almost every issue. When faced with the reality that he was unaware of what was going on in his community, he got nervous and decided to bring up quotes that would be inflammatory."
Nevins scoffed at Feibush's stance.
"It's sort of hard to take him seriously when he says he wants to elevate the debate when he started his campaign off in Philadelphia magazine with a litany of insults."
Johnson and Feibush will add another chapter to their Itchy and Scratchy relationship at another debate later this month.
On Twitter: @wbender99 and @dgambacorta