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Posted by James Jones
Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ last scheduled press conference revealed something D.C. residents already suspected: His fondest political memory came before a stadium mostly filled with residents of Maryland and Virginia.
When asked to reveal his best times as mayor, Williams turned to baseball. He recalled the feeling after he was introduced to the crowd at the 2005 home opener at RFK stadium. “When 30,000 people give you a standing ovation, now that’s a good moment.”
As for the low point, Williams highlighted the 2002 petition-signature scandal that led to him being kept off the Democratic primary ballot, despite having a $2.5 million campaign war chest and no serious opposition. He offered this 20/20 hindsight on that famous debacle: “I should have just got a lawn chair and sat out on Connecticut Avenue [to collect signatures]. We could have given all the money to charity.”
The mayor also offered a few unsolicited personal comments on the Wilson Building press corps. He noted that WTOP radio commentator Mark Plotkin “is kind of, well, kind of sweaty.” The mayor did offer some admiration for a Plotkin’s fashion bravery in light of the sweltering D.C. summers and Plotkin’s perspiration tendencies. “I have to give you credit for coming out here with a pink shirt.”
And he had a few queries for the people who usually go after him every week. Williams noted WRC-TV reporter Tom Sherwood’s frequent absences from the press briefings and asked him to reveal how much vacation he takes. He posed an uncomfortable question for WUSA-TV reporter and weekend anchor Bruce Johnson: “Does anyone actually watch local news on the weekend?”
For his nemisis Dorothy Brizill—who has used the press briefings over the years as a personal prosecutory platform from which to launch attacks on his administration—Williams had only one final line to offer: “Dorothy, I love you. I have nothing more to say.”