Excerpt from Williams’ May 17 press conference (MP3 format, 308 KB)
(Audio courtesy of WTOP; photo by Darrow Montgomery)

Washington Post Radio commentator Mark Plotkin finally found a way to make the normally disciplined Mayor Anthony A. Williams lose his shit.

During Williams’ weekly press conference this morning, Plotkin pressed his usual litany of leading questions about District voting rights. He asked the mayor whether he would call President George W. Bush to urge the White House to support a D.C. voting-rights bill expected to win approval by the House Government Affairs Committee Thursday.

In response to Plotkin’s question, the mayor replied that he would try to reach the President or his chief of staff. When Plotkin launched into an annoying speech-fashioned-as-question challenging the mayor’s true commitment to the voting-rights cause, Williams unleashed a rare tirade: “Look, Mark, goddamn it! Everybody tries to…reach the president. I’m just being realistic, OK? If I’m not able to reach the president, then what am I going to do? Just take my marbles and go home? I’ll talk to someone else. I’m saying it, but you’re making me say it, and that’s why I’m saying ‘Goddamn it.’”

The mayor immediately apologized to “the faith community” for his outburst. He apologized two more times before the end of his press conference and said the exclamation “Goddamn it,” was inappropriate for a public setting.

Just a few moments before his Plotkin-inspired outburst, he had called on Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr. of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church to apologize to the gay community for homophobic comments delivered during an April 9 sermon.

“I think it finally reached the point where he’s thinking, I just don’t give a shit,” says Plotkin. “At least he showed some emotion. I just wish he would show the same kind of passion for the issue.…[Williams] has done everything that Bush has asked him to do. Why not put a little heat on the President?”