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Good morning, sweet readers! Somehow, The Bucket List wound up on LL’s Netflix queue. And somehow, LL wound up watching some of it last night. I don’t know what Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson were thinking when they signed up to make that one, but LL would like an apology. Also, his Netflix queue is running low; send him some suggestions. Also, the newest edition of Washington City Paper drops today. Be sure and check out Rend Smith’s story about the discrepancy between white pot smokers and black pot smokers getting locked up, Chris Shott’s profile of the Rabbi of Pot, and LL’s look at the lucrative world of sports advocacy. On to the news!

I Said I Was SorryHey baby, I know I’ve been a bit cold, a bit distant. I’m just working so hard, too hard, to make a better life for us. But no excuses, sweetheart, I’m sorry. I’ll change, I promise I’ll be a better listener, a better communicator, a better man. By the way, have you lost weight? You’re looking so good. Such was the message, effectively, from Mayor Adrian Fenty to voters yesterday during an hour-long debate with his challenger, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, on TBD TV with Bruce DePuyt.

“‘The obvious thing about me, I focus so hard on just going 100 miles per hour, getting things done,” the mayor said as he issued his mea culpa during a debate on TBD TV Wednesday morning. ‘As mayor, I didn’t make the adjustment I should have [from being a councilman]. I haven’t done a good job of communicating and including people.’ He said in his next term, he’ll do better,” recaps The Examiner’s Freeman Klopott. Klopott notes how the message is different from Fenty’s previous TV ad messages of “no bullshit, just results.” And Freeman talks to an unnamed Green Team member who says “the change was the result of internal discussions and the realization that Fenty needed to take ‘responsibility for things people were irritated with.'” LL would have liked to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.

NBC4’s Tom Sherwood gets more to the point with his subhead to this story: “Mayor recognizes that many voters just don’t like him.” Fenty tells Sherwood: “‘It is something that I’ve learned,’ the mayor said Wednesday. ‘I’ve got to do a better job of letting people know that I have heard them and that their opinions have been considered. So I absolutely will use it to change how we do things going forward. I have to.'”

So, sweet readers, do you buy it? Is Fenty making promises his personality won’t let him keep? Gray thinks so, and tells Sherwood he has “serious reservations as to whether [Fenty] can fundamentally change his personality in that way.” Umm, it does seem a little late in the game for Fenty to say he’s going to start being all cozy and cuddly. But who knows, people can change, right? Right!? Read more at TBD, DeBonis, and DCist.

AFTER THE JUMP: Mo’ Money; Mo’ Ads; Mo’ Fired Bureaucrats…

Watch This: So it’s kinda funny that the day Fenty says he’s going to try and be nicer, his campaign releases attack ads going after Gray. “On Wednesday, Fenty unveiled two 30-second ads to air Thursday that take aim at Gray’s tenure as director of the city’s Department of Human Services during the administration of Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly. In grainy black-and-white photos, Gray is depicted as a sinister bureaucrat who mismanaged city funds and critical social services,” report Nikita Stewart and Ann Marimow at the Post. (Aren’t all bureaucrats sinister?) They add: “The spots mark the first time in Fenty’s political career that he has taken an overtly negative tone in advertising.”

Here was LL’s take yesterday: “Fenty has been attacking Gray’s leadership of DHS for weeks at various mayoral forums, saying Gray’s mismanagement of the department helped speed the city off a cliff and into the arms of the appointed control board. Usually, when he breaks out that line, Gray’s supporters go wild with boos, and Fenty retorts with, ‘The truth hurts.’  Now, thanks to the Scrooge McDuck-like money he’s raised for the campaign, Fenty can bypass the boobirds and beam that message directly into voters’ living rooms.”

The ads were no surprise, and the Gray campaign was ready with a radio ad of its own, attacking Fenty for attacking Gray and not creating enough jobs for the city’s unemployed.

Also note: “Both campaigns are gearing up for a get-out-the-vote effort that will be complicated by the city’s new laws on early voting and same-day registration. A canvassing and knock-and-drag-to-the-polls operation that took place on one day in the past will now stretch over two weeks, starting Aug. 30. With new laws and expected hiccups at the Board of the Elections and Ethics, both campaigns are poised for challenges. The Fenty campaign has hired Perkins Coie, former law firm of wife Michelle Cross Fenty, according to a campaign finance filing that showed two payments to the firm totaling about $18,000. ‘The campaign, in an abundance of caution, hired a Democratic-leaning election law firm specialist to give advice and protect voter participation, given the change in D.C. law,’ said Bill Lightfoot, Fenty’s campaign chairman.” Uh-oh, LL feels a hanging chad election coming on. Note: “The rule change that allows the early voting favors the campaign with the most money,” said political consultant Chuck Thies in The Examiner.

Go Big or Go HomeThe Examiner decided to put the money race on its cover today, where Klopott boldly says Gray “appears to have momentum” thanks to outraising Fenty by 2-1 during the latest cycle and winning big at recent straw polls. But the bottom line is: “Gray has $689,000 on hand compared to Fenty’s $1.9 million.” As LL mused yesterday, it’s no surprise Gray is outraising Fenty now; Fenty already had most of the money he was ever going to spend in the race before Gray got in, and many of his big donors are already maxed out.

D.C. GOP For Fenty?: Gary Imhoff at DC Watch thinks the D.C. GOP is in the tank for Fenty: “It’s not unusual that no Republican is even running as a candidate for mayor; the party has frequently been too weak to recruit a full slate of candidates. But it is unusual that the DC Republican Committee has done everything it can, short of making a formal endorsement, to campaign for a Democratic candidate, Adrian Fenty,” GOP head Paul Craney emails LL it’s not true: “I’m happy to remind you of many examples of the DCGOP holding the Mayor (and Council) accountable.”

Tell Me Your Woes, Fired Man: Interesting update from Klopott on Gray supporters looking for fired city workers.

Bright Young Things:The Post’s Bill Turque hangs out at DCPS new teacher orientation with some fresh meat.

GOP candidate parties with drag queens [Post]

Council schedule: Should we make Omar Karim talk? 1 p.m., Wilson Building.