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Moten, Barry debate

Christopher Dean Hopkins

Part 1:

Part 2:

D.C. Council member Marion Barry stumbled over his words while Peaceoholics co-founder Ronald Moten stumbled over his facts during a 15-minute debate Tuesday night on the Fox 5 10 p.m. newscast.

Barry and Moten, both of whom have emerged as sideshows in the mayor's race, clashed with each other over their support for their favored candidates in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary.

Barry, a supporter of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, argued that "thousands" of residents are now "disappointed and disgusted" with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration.

"He promised a clean government, that we were not going to have this culture of corruption," said Barry, noting that he supported Fenty in 2006.

Moten, largely sticking to Fenty's talking points on the campaign trail, countered that the mayor deserves a second term because he is getting "results."

"Adrian Fenty has made some mistakes, just like Marion Barry has made some mistakes," Moten said in an apparent reference to Barry's arrest on drug charges in 1990. "I am kind of surprised that Marion wouldn't agree to forgive someone who has changed the city."

Moten said Fenty has built new grocery stores, schools, recreation centers, libraries and affordable housing units in Ward 8 since he took office. Moten, an ex-offender who mentors at-risk youth to try to prevent gang violence, cited gains at Ballou High school in Congress Heights as proof that the city has progressed under Fenty.

"Our children are happy. Our parents are happy," Moten said. "We demonize this man who has made some mistakes, but Marion has made a lot of mistakes and we forgave him."

Struggling throughout the debate to formulate his thoughts into words, Barry responded by asking, "What about the people?"

"You talk recreational centers. What about jobs for the parents of the children who go to recreational centers?" Barry asked. "What about housing? ... What about the minority business program? ... He manages by press conference as opposed to managing."

From there, the debate largely veered toward the gutter.

Barry repeatedly implied that Fenty was responsible for Harriette Walters being able to steal nearly $50 million from the D.C. Tax Office. Walters, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison last year, stole most of her money from 2001 to 2007, before Fenty was mayor.

Moten, meanwhile, stated at least twice that Gray gave "$500 million" in city contracts to his friends, which appears to be untrue.

Under tough questioning from Brian Bolter, the Fox 5 anchor, Moten also was forced to respond to accusations that he is one Fenty's "cronies."

"Let me ask you, Ron," the anchor asked. "Are you getting millions of dollars from Mayor Fenty and simply preserving your interests by campaigning for him?"

Moten, whose organization has received at least $10 million since from the city since Fenty took office, responded he's "worked hard" with little pay for years.

"For nine years, I was almost a bum on the street," Moten said. "My grandmother kept telling me, 'Why do you keep on working hard for the city and you get nothing in return?' Mayor Fenty did not start supporting me. Anthony Williams started supporting me."

Later, Bolter asked Barry about concerns from some voters that a Gray administration would resemble the type of government Barry ran when he was mayor in the 1980s and 1990s.

"I don't buy that. I had an outstanding government," Barry said. "Vincent Gray and I have a forward vision for the city."

In one of the stranger moments of the debate, Moten suggested that Gray made his grandmother cry by releasing a campaign ad that refers to Moten as a crony.

--Tim Craig

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  September 7, 2010; 11:33 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Moten debating Barry tonight on Fox 5
Next: Some Gray advisers worry Barry could become a distraction


This sort of freak show is why I wish there were a credible 3rd candidate.

Posted by: pluperfectdc | September 8, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what you were watching, but as far as these sorts of debates go, this was pretty interesting and somewhat informative. and Bolter does a very good job.

Posted by: mcgintyman | September 8, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Who thought it was a good idea to have these two debate? Regardless of what people think of him, Barry is an elected official who in the past has admitted to his drug use, womanizing, cronyism and laundry list of misdeeds. The citizens want him and keep voting for him.

Moten on the other hand...Who on the Fenty team is allowing Moten to constantly speak on their behalf? Contrary to Rhee who has many supporters, does anyone anywhere in the city like or even respect Moten? Other than his grandmother.

Posted by: Redial1 | September 8, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Mayor Barry, I love what you did for DC. Many folks weren't around when your administration uplifted many of us & made being from DC something that was a source of pride. Now it's time to walk away. I thank you for your years of service; even for making the citizens of Ward 8 stand up and demand to be counted. We thank you and those of us with long memories appreciate you, but this further deteriorates your legacy. You should not be sharing screen time with Ron Moten. He is not worthy.

Mr. Moten, Mayor Williams did indeed fund your organization and during that era you did some good for the city. Kids who didn't want to communicate with others felt comfortable and at ease in talking with you and your staff. Again we thank you for that. Along the way, y'all got caught up in the paper chase and lost focus on what was supposed to be the mission. If it's truly about the kids, your administrative fees shouldn't eat up such a high percentage of the grants you've been given. But it's OK. The gravy train is coming to an end. Hope y'all managed to put some of that bank away. As for Grandma crying, don't you think she shed some tears back when you got locked up?

Good job Fox. You put the two most polarizing personalities on screen and let them stumble their way through. Keep those ratings up.

Posted by: ahs78graduate | September 8, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Who gives a *&((^ about Moten's Grandmother? I can't believe that he put her in the mix.

Posted by: Special_One40 | September 8, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

We have to vote Gray on election day.. Moten was inarticulate just as Fenty was on TBD news last week. It's a shame when you have to seek out kids to help get Fenty another term. Kids are oblivious to the structure of the city and the politics. Fenty brings some go-go entertainment to S.E. and some free food and expects to garnish the youth to vote for him. Now that's how you manipulate a social class and show totally disrespect to a community. In four years what new establishments do you have on Good Hope Rd., Alabama Ave, Martin Luther King Ave, Southern Ave.. On the revitalization of Pennsylvania Ave, you can count the number of African Americans that's working out there. Now, just imagine how many of those guys are D.C. residents. Now visit 14 Street, Georgia Ave, looks magnificent up there..

Posted by: ambitious10241 | September 8, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

First of all, why would Fox even give these guys 1 minute on TV? What has Ronald Moten don to get so much attention during the mayoral race anyway? And Marion Barry you were the face of DC, but your time has passed, so "fall back". This city is a joke and if anybody knew better they would see that Ronald Moten is trying to hype, well, Ronald Moten. Fox should be suspended for 1 day to air any news for that garbage last night.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | September 8, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, for typing errors....

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | September 8, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

What a joke. Perfect for the "Faux" news.

Posted by: blankspace | September 8, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I only saw 30-seconds and wondered where in the hell did this idea come. Did they mention if this was authorized or endorsed by the respective candidates. All i can say is i cringed when i saw the cancer known as Marion Barry apparently speaking on behalf of Gray. I've seen Moten enough to know where he stands but i am sure the Fenty folks cringed as well. But, they had a level of comfort because it was TV time with Marion Barry the entire point of their campaign. having seen Barry a few times, i can assure you folks are tried to talk to him and are now cursing him the hell out. but his ego is such he could not care because this was ultimately about him and the same tired bull crap he's been spreading for years.

I still say Barry's ego and Fenty's arrogance have much in common.

Posted by: oknow1 | September 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

i think the WaPo has made Barry a sideshow in this election, Barry hasnt done anything over the top to bring attention to the fact he supports Gray, but whereas Moten has thrown Go-Go's and other events to show he is a sideshow for Fenty

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | September 8, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

mayor for life!...gotta love him!

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | September 8, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse


That's why it's important to be a little more informed. At the start of the debacle, Barry clarified that he was not speaking for the campaign but as a FormerFentyVoter. He did not give any indication that the campaign endorsed the disaster and after watching it, I can fully understand why.

Moten, OTOH, was speaking in his role as campaign strategist.

I don't see how anyone watching this mess could still offer the ridiculous narrative that Marion Barry is a threat. The man can't put two sentences together w/o sounded like a drunken whino. Yet, he's still the boogeyman.

Posted by: dcis1 | September 8, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I want Ron Moten to define "cronyism". I bet he just learned that word when Bolter used it.

Barry = Retirement
Moten = Free Meal

"2 frat bruvas...not, 20, 30...2 frat bruvas..."

Posted by: cbmuzik | September 8, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Moten (Crackhead 1)debating Barry (Crackhead 2) = Air Pollution

Posted by: ashafer_usa | September 8, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Moten out their for a free ride and a meal.
he's talking about barry doing wrong he needs to look at his back ground too. Fenty
is a scam artist and a crook.
He's a beater.

Posted by: bsimpson58 | September 8, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Fenty's a beater, Moten's dealer.

Posted by: bsimpson58 | September 8, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Shocking headlines of the day:
Pope Declares Allegiance to Catholicism;
Bear Relieves Himself in Wooded Area;
Barry and Moten Debate Sinks to the Gutter.

Seriously, is anyone really surprised at the tenor and erudition of a political exchange between these two? (Marion, you used to have "it" as a political speaker, but time and chemicals have taken their toll. You really should face up to that. And Ron, sorry, but you've always come across as a street thug.)

It's too bad that these guys have been pushed - or even allowed - as visible spokespersons for their chosen Mayoral candidates. And it's even worse that a major news outlet chose to give them a platform. But, alas, that's to be expected from the clowns at FOX.

Posted by: nan_lynn | September 8, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Why would anyone listen to either of these guys? Marion needs to go home, and stay there.

Posted by: jckdoors | September 8, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I think that Moten is positioning himself for the next Mayoral race.

Moten 2014!

Posted by: Special_One40 | September 8, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

if I believe the comments here, I think perhpaps folks have FINALLY woke up to the cronyism, corruption and chicanery that is NOW, once again, the District government. Fenty's administration needs to be audited and I am sure indictments would be handed down. Moten is classic snake trying to slither his way into any hole he can. He thinks he can get a hair cut and a nice suit and flimflam of people of this city. WRONG! Take your con on the road.

Barry, it is REAL simple...Fall Back, it is O-V-E-R.

Fox is ghetto news. Grow up. Really, this was NOT a was disgrace.

Posted by: arvoss | September 8, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I thought that lastnight debate was very good. I also agree with the another writer Moten is only out for self. I know Marion Barry had issues but they were personal. But the city was still run and we had jobs. I really think that if Fenty would have kept it real with us instead of feeling himself he wouldn't be fighting so hard for this office. Stay true to the city and the people who put you there not problems. Fenty turned his back on the residents of DC to futher his own gain. One thing about the debate last night Ron Moten said nothing interesting he was only talking about his grandmother why bring her into this Fenty isn't helping the elderly. I'm done venting but lastnight was the first time in a long time I have watched fox 5 news.

Posted by: lolitaj32 | September 8, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

You can take the rat out of the hood but you can't take the hood out of the rat.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | September 8, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm really amused that Barry had the nerve to speak on or condemn anyone else's cronyism and corruption. He needs to retire.

I can't believe Fenty would send Moten to vouch for him in a public forum. Not a good PR move.

Posted by: brandip_77 | September 8, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

(I apologize now if I repeat this in future comments)

For years DC has had the reputation of providing services like a southern state and having the attitude of a northern state. Marion Barry continues to perpetrate this type of governance in Washington, DC. If he actually cared about the people of Ward 8 he would have cared about education many years ago, instead he continues the job entitlement game. His "don't worry (about the fact that your school system has let you down), be happy (because I'll get you job regardless)" attitude has crippled the very people he represents.

Washington, DC is in need of an intervention. Change is difficult and it usually doesn't happen through consensus governance. If Gray is elected he needs to show, that at the end of the day, he is not afraid to make hard choices and not just placate people.

Posted by: delray | September 8, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I am trying to decipher why almost every comment is about Barry debating on nehalf of Gray. Apparently, no one listened or the folks in this city can not comprehend. Barry clearly told us (the public) that he is in no way campaigning but just voicing his concerns. I agree totally with Barry in regards to Fenty. Mayor Fenty has done allot for the city but the ones who truly benefitted were the ones who were already financially stable or white folks. The job market sucks here and it is still a city in who you know and not what you know. He has beautified the NW and parts of the SW corridors in the city but has done nothing at all for the residents of SE. Fenty has also not been keeping tabs on his police force. If you call the cops on unrulely youths, when the cops come to break up the youths they also tell the youths who called and why putting common citizens like myself in danger of retaliation. There are allot of unsolved crimes and no one comes forward because when you do speak out the ones that are paid to protect you are the ones that ultimately cause your down fall. Moten has helped the youth he wanted to help. He used that money to employ his friends etc.., I have never heard of him randomly asking adults to work for his organization. I bet if an audit is done on his books all his staff will ultimately be friends of his directly or friends of friends of his. Moten is a scam and is in cohoots with Fenty to bleed the city dry. Yeah Barry used drugs and got caught but he never got caught with his hands in the cookie jar (stealing money outright). Barry helped this city the entire time while doing drugs, we had jobs and affordable housing, Maybe Fenty needs to smoke whatever Barry smoked because high or not Barry ran this DC better than any other city official this city has ever seen. So Mayor Fenty, PLEASE GO AND GET HIGH HIGH HIGH

Posted by: mariaalewis | September 8, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

HUH...the economy here is just have to actually be qualified to get a job. I don't want a handout...I want a better education system so my children will actually qualify for those jobs. But I side with Gray because I also believe that you can't just forget about the adults who are under-educated and un-skilled.

Moten and Barry are one in the same and both represent the old ways of DC that nobody here today wants to see return.

Posted by: uptownstars2208 | September 8, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

You can hear the same thing on any street corner in Southeast.

Posted by: MKadyman | September 8, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I am completely convinced now that King Fenty really does not want to be reelected. WHY and who suggested Ron Moten for that spot? If the point was to scare people by having Marion Barry speak on behalf of Chairman Gray, then having Ron Moten on the other side totally cancelled that strategy.

Posted by: ssmd11 | September 8, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Come on Sept 14th! I'm so tired of hearing Moten, seeing Moten and reading about Moten. Mr. Gray, when elected please do whatever it takes to get "this" out of our lives. Put some polish and class back in the game.

Posted by: candycane1 | September 8, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I don't like Moten and thinks he was lying through his teeth but his showing was as bad as you said.

Barry has a drawl but that is not really at issue.

I think what Barry meant is that no one was fired or held accountable for the 50 million dollar scandal. Ghandi kept his job. That was a decision that stunned many.

Posted by: CultureClub | September 8, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I meant to say Moten wasn't bad. I thought they both did well.

But obviously I support Vince Gray.

Posted by: CultureClub | September 8, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

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