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Gray, Obama meet at Mystics game


It wasn't the lunch date at Ben's Chili Bowl that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) enjoyed, but D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray got a chance Sunday to make small talk with President Obama.

Gray (D) and Obama were both guests of Ted Leonsis at Sunday's WBNA Washington Mystic's game.

According to Gray staffers, the chairman was unaware that Leonsis, the owner of the team, had also invited Obama until a few minutes before game time. When Obama walked in with daughter Sasha, he and Gray exchanged pleasantries for about a minute but he and the president sat several seats away from each other. Gray spent part of the game chatting up Alana Beard from the Mystics and Reggie Love, Obama's personal assistant who played basketball at Duke, according to campaign aides.

During the game, Leonsis also had Gray introduced to the crowd, flashing his picture on the Jumbotron at the Verizon Center. After the game, Obama and Gray again shook hands before they parted ways, according to campaign aides.

The Gray campaign quickly uploaded photos of Gray and Obama embracing on Twitter, allowing it to counteract the photo of Obama and Fenty that the mayor used to feature on his Web site.

In January 2007, a few days before Obama was inaugurated, he and Fenty had hot dogs and burgers during a well-publicized visit to Ben's Chili Bowl.

Since then, sightings of Obama and Fenty together in public have been rare.

But because Fenty was one of Obama's earliest supporters in the 2008 presidential campaign, the local chattering class still likes to speculate about whether the president might signal his preference in this year's mayoral race.

It would be extremely rare, however, for a sitting president to endorse a candidate in a contested primary for a local office such as mayor.

Furthermore, Obama would be taking a huge risk by entering the fray between Gray and Fenty.

The District's Democratic primary occurs less than two months before the November midterms. If an Obama-backed candidate lost in D.C., GOP strategists and the national media would be buzzing about the president's lack of influence in a city that gave him 93 percent of the vote and is majority black.

If Obama couldn't sway in an election in D.C., the argument would go, how is he suppose to help Democrats win congressional races in swing districts across the country?

In other words, Gray and Fenty are probably on their own, but that probably won't stop both of them from clamoring for that next photograph with the prez.

By Tim Craig  |  August 2, 2010; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  2008 Presidential Race , 2010 District Election , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig , Vincent C. Gray , vincent gray  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gray responds to Post's endorsement of Fenty
Next: Barry admonished but cleared in contract to girlfriend


There is a special meaning as to why Ted Leonsis invited both President Obama and Vincent Gray. What are others theories?

Posted by: samvped205 | August 2, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"Since then, sightings of Obama and Fenty together in public have been rare..."

Yep! Obama knows a basket case when he sees one and is keeping his distance!

Posted by: starclimber9 | August 2, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gray, and President, Obama look good together. Fenty, however, has not been seen with President, Obama lately. Makes one wonder why.

Posted by: fivetogo | August 2, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Great photo get back to campaigning Gray and Fenty. Gray keep your cool, stick to the issues stop letting Fenty arouse you and Fenty keep telling voters your record. This will be a interesting election.

Posted by: drfields | August 2, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi Mr. President,

You should start taking my approach to politics and make things holistic. Give everyone in the country a seat at the table and rely on them to make the hard decisions; be more "holistic" in your approach. You won't get that much done, but you will be more popular. And tell Mr. Duncan that I'm going to work hard to fund charter schools and allow them to keep complete autonomy while working to get rid of Ms. Rhee and micro-manage DCPS decisions.

Posted by: delray | August 2, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Why would Obama want to be seen with fenty??? He is nothing to Obama, besides Obama lives in DC...he watches channel 13 and see's what is going on for hisself!

Posted by: | August 2, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Why would Obama want to be seen with fenty??? He is nothing to Obama, besides Obama lives in DC...he watches channel 13 and see's what is going on for hisself!

Posted by: | August 2, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Ted Leonsis. You are the best!!!


Posted by: diahhna | August 3, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

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