Loose Lips

New Fenty Ad: Keep Me, Or Go Back to the 1990s

The new 60-second ad from Mayor Adrian Fenty's campaign is a classic of the genre: Candidate talking to the camera, acknowledging what voters don't like about him, promising to change—and making any alternative seem even worse.

"When I was growing up in D.C., politicians made nice speeches, told you whatever you wanted to hear," Fenty says in the opening line. "The problem is, nothing worked." Sitting on the stoop of a rowhouse, Fenty seems like one of the District's own again. He knows he's made mistakes: "Going forward, I'll learn from them, and be more inclusive."

The dagger aimed at D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray is implicit; the spot doesn't even mention Fenty's opponent. But it's there. "What I will never do is go back to the ways of the past," Fenty says. The message of the ad, essentially, is this: It's Fenty or the 1990s.

The spot seems designed to motivate Fenty's base of mostly white, mostly new arrivals to the District, while also planting seeds of doubt in the minds of black middle-class voters who are open to—but not certain about—voting for Gray. Campaign aides haven't yet replied to an inquiry about how often the ad is running, or on what stations, but we'll update when they do. UPDATE: Fenty spokesman Sean Madigan says the ad will be running on broadcast and cable stations, and that a 30-second version will begin airing this weekend, as well.

Also, Gray campaign strategist Mo Elleithee e-mailed reporters with these thoughts:

It’s ironic that Adrian Fenty starts off this new ad by bemoaning politicians who tell people what they want to hear. That’s exactly what he’s doing.

Apologies are nice. Everyone loves a politician who apologizes. But apologies only work if they’re believable, and his isn’t.

He says he’s going to learn from his mistakes, but he is still defending the $82 million in contracts to his cronies. He just blocked a bill that makes vote-buying a crime. We’re still seeing stories every single day about mismanagement and abuse in his administration.

And when people ask him to explain the cronyism and mismanagement, he doesn’t apologize. He DEFENDS it, and attacks anyone who questions him.

So, you’ll have to excuse anyone who doesn’t take his apology seriously.

It’s going to take more than an apology by the Mayor to change people’s perceptions of him. They don’t want to just hear an apology – they want to see him change the way he does business.

And if his actions over the past few months are any indication, it appears that his unwillingness to put an end to cronyism and mismanagement in the Mayor’s office is the only thing that’s truly “non-negotiable.”

That’s why, despite Fenty spending millions of dollars on television ads, the most recent polling shows Vince expanding his lead.

  • foldingtime

    I love how, admitting fault, you can see the bad taste in his mouth.

    Note the images of smiling happy schoolchildren. Again, linking himself with Rhee. This brings to mind Rhee's well worn-out saying, "If you're not with me, then you're against the children!"

  • WARD4NDC

    I will never cast a vote again in life of arrogant, vindictive, childish King Fenty.

  • maserfentyaintnogood

    Unfortunately, a lot of middle class/working class folks cannot stay in their rowhouses anymore due to the highest unemployment in DC since homerule. Maser fenty is responsible for the downfall of the middle class/working class in DC, so, your apology is not accepted. You can go to work for bloomberg after sept 14th.

  • john

    See the bad taste in his mouth? I think you're predisposed to seeing what you want to see. As for his supposed arrogance and childishness, who cares if he's doing a good job. Judge him on that criteria. As for the highest unemployment levels/real estate crisis, DC has weathered the storm better than just about any city in the nation. A study by a Florida research firm says that the Seattle area’s economy is the best in the country.

    Snip--According to Policom Corp., an independent economic research firm that specializes in analyzing local and state economies, out of the nation’s 366 metropolitan statistical areas, Seattle-Tacoma Bellevue rates No. 1, moving up from last year’s No. 12 ranking. In 2006, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue ranked No. 51 in the country. The company uses 23 different economic factors to create its rankings.

    According to Policom, the highest-ranked areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time. The lowest ranked areas have been in volatile decline for an extended period of time and Policom has created economic strength rankings since 1996.

    Here are the nation’s top 10 markets of all 366 markets.
    2010 Ten Strongest Among 366 Metropolitan Areas

    1. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue.

    2. Washington, D.C.-Arlington, Va.-Alexandria, W.V.

    3. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colo.

    4. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas.

    5. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif.

    6. Salt Lake City, Utah.

    7. Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa.

    8. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, Calif.

    9. Madison, Wisc.

    10. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas.

    Read more: Study: Seattle has nation’s best economy - Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)

  • CoHo

    John,

    That's b/c of the Federal Government and Contracting jobs. Not Fenty.

  • HA!

    Team Gray!!! Maybe I like the 90's.

  • Grumpy

    AD's problem is the same Style vs Substance, Truth vs Perception.

    He's losing style points and with persons like Moten and Nickles, perceived to be involved in shady activities.

    He needs a 'fixer' and a fresh PR approach

  • LOL

    He acts like Mayor Williams did not exist. It is him or back in debt. Looking at our rainy day fund. I would argue that with him we are going back to the early 90s.

  • candycane1

    I'm not one for going back in time and really see this as an "that's all you got?" kind of statement, but if going back means to a time when Fenty's stupidity was not an everyday experience and no where close to us, I'll take that.

  • noodlez

    DID SOMEONE LOOK THIS OVER BEFORE THEY HIT SEND?

    HE IS MAKING ALL THESE REFERENCES TO THE MID-90’S WHEN WE HAD SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENTS IN THE LATE 90’S TO THE EARLY PART OF THIS DECADE. HE IS PLAYING US BLACK FOLK LIKE WE DON’T REMEMBER MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS AND PLAYING THE WHITE FOLK THE FEAR CARD ABOUT THE BLACK TAKEOVER. NEGRO PLEASE LEAVE!

    THE FIRST 10 SECONDS HE CONTRADICTED HIMSELF. HE IS MAKING A SPEECH THAT HE THINKS EVERYONE WANTS TO HEAR AND SPECIAL INTERESTS ARE AT THE CRUX OF HIS FAILED ADMINISTRATION AND RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN. WHERE IS HE GETTING HIS DIRECTION FROM (BESIDES YUCKMOUTH MOTEN)??

    THE FOLK WHO ARE ADVISING HIM ARE THE SAME PEOPLE HE IS DELEGATING WORK TO WHILE HE IS OFF RIDING HIS BYCYCLE IN THE PARK WITH HIS FRIENDS. THE SAME FOLK WHO DIDNT STEP UP TO THE PLATE DURING HIS AWOL TOUR IN JAMAICA WHILE S.E. WAS IN CRISIS DURING THE TIME THE S.CAPITOL STREET MURDERS HAPPENED!

    CALLING ALL FENTYITES WILL SOME PLEASE TELL ME ONE TOUGH DECISION THIS CLOWN MADE? GIVING MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS TO PEACE-O’SHITICS, NEGLECTING THE DC GENERAL HOMELESS SHELTER DURING THE WORST WINTER IN DC HISTORY WHILE GIVING $400K FOR A PLACE FOR DOGS TO SHIT THIS SPRING, CIRCUMVENTING POLICY AND PROCEDURES TO PAD YOUR FRIENDS POCKETS, WOW! THOSE ARE SOME TOUGH DECISIONS.

    FOR SOMEBODY TO MAKE QUICK AND TOUGH DECISIONS WHY DID IT TAKE SO LONG FOR YOU TO APOLOGIZE?

    THE SOON TO BE FORMER MAYOR HIRED MICHELLE RHEE BASED ON A RECOMMENDATION NOT BECAUSE SHE WAS THE BEST PERSON TO DO THE JOB. THESE MOFO’S WAS SO INEPT THEY PLAGIARIZED ANOTHER SCHOOL SYSTEMS DOCUMENTS RIGHT OUT THE GATE AND THEN TRIED TO PASS THEM OFF AS IF THEY WERE CONCEIVED HERE! THAT SHOULD HAVE TOLD US RIGHT THERE THAT HE WASN’T READY FOR PRIMETIME. HE ACTUALLY VOTED AGAINST MAYORAL CONTROL OF THE SCHOOLS!!

    HE IS RIGHT ABOUT ONE THING HIS RESULTS ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE! NEGOTIATIONS HAVE CEASED AND DISISTED!
    THE CITIZENS OF WASHINGTON, DC WILL NOT RENEGOTIATE WITH YOU!

    PLEASE LEAVE THE KEYS TO THE SMART CAR, TURN IN YOUR RIBBON CUTTING SCISSORS, PAY TAXES ON THE $10K BIKE (WE NEED THE MONEY) AND ADVISE ALL THE UNQUALIFIED FOLK YOU HIRED THAT THEY ARE STILL UNQUALIFIED!

  • tformation

    Lol... noodlez you crack me up. No one can say it quit like you can. You are right, the time for negotiations has ended. We will move FORWARD to 2011 with Grey instead of constantly being reminded about the the 90's from Fentys words and actions.

  • Samantha

    King Fenty must have pickeD Queen Rheeform because oF her affinity for abusing African American children while working in Baltimore City . Her acts which pulled skin and drew blood from 35 students in elementary school is an inditable child abuse offense . Her speech at New Teacher Induction was taken as a funny story while giving subtle suggested behaviors to the unqualified replacements for the seasoned teachers she and George Parker fired (sic) There is no statute of limitation on these acts in Maryland .The Rheeform Jokester admited her guilt. Maybe King Fenty and Queen Rheeform enjoy a fetish of spousal and Black Child Abuse ! VOTERS BEWARE . Read DC Schools Insider and CRY >

  • candycane1

    @noodlez: You may never be able to top yourself after that one! I can't stop laughing. That was so good.

  • downtown rez

    @LOL and noodlez-
    He acts like Mayor Williams did not exist. It is him or back in debt.
    HE IS PLAYING US BLACK FOLK LIKE WE DON’T REMEMBER MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS...
    LOL you are right.
    Fenty should make more of Mayor Williams' endorsement.
    By the way, noodlez, I love the race baiting inherent in HE IS PLAYING US BLACK FOLK LIKE WE DON’T REMEMBER MAYOR ANTHONY WILLIAMS AND PLAYING THE WHITE FOLK THE FEAR CARD ABOUT THE BLACK TAKEOVER. NEGRO PLEASE LEAVE!
    A little advance taste of One City, eh?

  • S.E.

    Seems like I've heard this before...........Oh yeah.....back in 2004......the George W. Bush re-election campain. remmenber the "War on Terror?"

    Perhaps it should read:

    "Keep Me, Or Go-Go Back to the 1990s"

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    I love the tag "results are non-negotiable". There should also be the following attached: "neither are multi-million dollar contracts to frat buddies."

  • Mary Ward 4

    All I'm going to say is that we gave him a chance. For nearly 4 years. He failed. A zebra doesn't change it stripes.

    I am going to vote for Gray because WE CAN HAVE INCLUSIVE, TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT THAT GETS RESULTS. It doesn't have to be a choice.

    Let's let Vince Gray lead the city in a way that brings us progress and things are done the right way! Without cronyism or corruption.

  • http://dccitypaper.com another native washingtonian

    @ Downtown rez,I think a wakeup call is in order, if you can't see the coding in this language of going back to the 1990's then it's only because you don't want too. I think s.e. is right on point, it,s a snipet right out of the bush era scare tactics, what's so ironic is it worked for bush. Let's not that mistake get repeated.

  • downtown rez

    @ another native washingtonian
    Someone, somewhere else on CP, pointed out that what we have here is a black mayor, being challenged by a black councilmember, each of whom are supported by former black mayors.
    I'm having a hard time understanding how race is really at the core of the issue here. Sure, I'll grant you that crude people might (for one selfish reason or another) play the race card.
    But it's pretty clear to me that the Mayor Fenty(D, black), who is endorsed by Former Mayor Williams (D, black), has done more good for this one city than former Mayors Barry (D, black) and Pratt-Kelly (D, black) combined. And certainly more good than has the good council chair Gray (D, black).
    How again is race the issue?

  • AEW

    Leave it to racists like downtown rez to generalize vastly different people on the basis of their skin color.

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