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This is perhaps the most genuine collection of Fenty supporters ever assembled. They have ignored all the polls, woken up before dawn, driven to the mayor’s campaign headquarters on Georgia Avenue wearing their crisp Green Team shirts, and now gather in an airless room to listen to their mayor make his case one more time. It’s 5:30 a.m. Let’s hear it for school reform!
The crowd shouts “Four more years! Four more years!”
In the center of the room is Fenty, in a white button down shirt and dark red tie. His sleeves are rolled up. His voice isn’t yet hoarse. His passionate defense of his school reform still full of energy. “When you have to make an omelette, you got to break some eggs!” he shouts, not realizing that this cliché would probably not rate well with Michelle Rhee’s new eggs teaching corps. “We did what we said we’re going to do!”
Ron Moten is in the room standing next to Fenty. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser is in the back. “As Mo likes to say, we’re going to give out facts not fiction!” Fenty shouts. There are hundreds of other supporters here, without bold names, young and old, black and white. Fenty gets everyone to huddle up. People hesitate to get too close.
“It ain’t musty yet!” someone shouts.
Fenty references Henry V, Band of Brothers, and JFK. Before that, he paraphrases Twain. He skips referencing his own go-go theme. “It’s going to be a long day,” Fenty tells his supporters.
“Are you with me?” Fenty bellows.
A long-time supporter, who has been with Fenty for 12 years, leads off the count. 1, 2, 3!
Rovers and precinct captains are ordered into the back of the room, the garage section of a former auto dealership. Along one wall, there are hundreds Fenty signs stacked up for the taking. Lines form as long and slow as at CVS. No one really goes after the boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts and coffee. These are the diehards, and they don’t want donuts. They want their marching orders.
Fenty hugs, or tries to hug, everyone. He stops by Moten and asks him where he’s going to be. Moten tells him “Union Temple,” and then goes on and on about the gift cards and Cora Masters Barry. Fenty tunes him out quick. He’s onto the next hand to shake.
Before 6 a.m., Fenty gets in the front passenger seat of a Ford F150. He’s got to get to his Morning Joe interview. I ask him about his strategy for the national talk show. He says, laughing a bit, “It depends what questions they ask me.”