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Well, that was awkward.

A few members of the city’s press corps were treated to a lengthy, uncomfortable, and unfortunately on background exchange between Mayor Vince Gray‘s new chief of staff, Chris Murphy, and Washington Post editorial writer Jo-Ann Armao Tuesday afternoon.

At issue was a blistering investigative piece Armao wrote about potential political shenanigans involving the Gray administration and the city’s contract to have its grass mowed.

For nearly 30 minutes, reporters sat in silence as Murphy and Armao went at it over the contents of the article. Alas, whatever zingers where dispensed will have to stay private as reporters (including LL) agreed to let Murphy give a briefing on background.

Murphy later said on the record that the Gray administration is frustrated by what it sees as a need for Armao and the Post to “look for [a] bogeyman where it doesn’t exist.”

From the sound of it, Murphy has put a significant effort into winning over Armao since coming on board in late August. Gray has had a rocky relationship with Armao and the Post editorial board since challenging and defeating former Mayor Adrian Fenty for the city’s throne.

Based on today’s follow up editorial, LL would say Murphy’s got a long way to go.