Mayoral candidates stumble on the first day of the race
Wednesday was day 1 in the D.C. mayoral contest between incumbent Adrian M. Fenty and his challenger, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. And, judging by some notable missteps, both candidates need to step up their game before the Democratic primary in September.
Exhibit A is hizzoner’s bone-headed refusal to let the public know where he is. You would think Fenty would have learned from past mistakes -- when jetting off to Dubai and China resulted in a public relations disaster that only fed a perception of him as aloof and arrogant, if not sneaky. Fenty was nowhere to be seen Wednesday, and the absence -- noted by newspaper reporters and criticized by Gray -- was apparent because of the horrific shooting in Southeast that left four people dead. Normally, the mayor would be Adrian on the spot, but it seems he was out of town, en route home from a family trip to Jamaica. I don’t think anyone begrudges the mayor his time-off, but it is just silly that he’s not forthright about his travels. It’s almost as absurd as his apparent insistence that Police Chief Cathy Lanier not be allowed to hold a press conference on the shooting until he got back to the city (9:15 p.m. Wednesday). Seems to me that Lanier is a pretty capable woman who can be trusted to hold her own press conference.
Which brings me to Exhibit B and Gray’s comments about another capable woman.
In an interview with NewsChannel 8’s Bruce DePuyt, Gray was asked whether he would keep Michelle Rhee in charge of the city schools. Gray has not always been supportive of Rhee, so it was good to hear him say he had an open mind: “I think she and I would obviously have to sit down and have a discussion.” Rather than leaving it at that, he then went on to note that Rhee is planning on getting married in September. “Her [soon-to-be] husband is the mayor of Sacrameto, 3,000 miles from here, and I would think she would be concerned about a 3,000-mile relationship, which she may be.” Rhee has gone on the record several times as saying she is committed to staying on for another four years, if Fenty gets reelected. “I’m fully ready for the commuter marriage!” are her exact words. So it seems to me -- and probably a lot of other women who have managed to have demanding careers and satisfactory personal lives -- that Gray’s observation was rather dated, if not a tad sexist. A mayor's job is to worry about how well she runs the schools; I don't see how her marriage is any of his business.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of the campaign brings.
| April 1, 2010; 12:47 PM ET
Categories: Armao | Tags: Jo-Ann Armao
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