Loose Lips

New Fenty Ad: “Do We Want to Go Back to That?”

Mayor Adrian Fenty's campaign has launched a new ad—quietly, without announcing it officially—on cable and broadcast TV, attacking D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray's record as head of the Department of Human Services in the 1990s.

The tagline is fascinating: "Gray's not a bad guy. But he was a bad manager. Do we want to go back to that?" Fenty is now seen by many D.C. residents as a good manager, but a bad guy, at least if the results of last week's Washington Post poll are to be believed. Here, he's hoping to convince people that what's important is the manager part. But it's a bad sign when a candidate has to spend time in an attack ad telling voters the other side isn't so bad; that's the kind of thing campaigns do when their own guy is so unpopular they worry about reinforcing the narrative that he's, well, a jerk.

The other subtext there, of course, is "back to that"—which is a barely disguised warning that Gray would roll back the District to a bygone era. Gray worked for Sharon Pratt Kelly, but Fenty strategists probably wouldn't mind if voters thought they were talking about another mayor, one whose name starts with M- and ends with -arion Barry.

Watch the ad here:

Gray advisor Mo Elleithee sends over this response:

Well, so much for the new kinder, gentler Adrian Fenty!

We don’t need a lecture on mismanagement from the mayor who gave control of $82 million in city contracts to his frat buddies, who overspent the Summer Youth Employment Program by tens of millions of dollars, and who couldn’t even figure out whether to fire teachers because we had a deficit or give them a raise because we had a surplus. The truth is that when Vince Gray ran DHS, child immunizations went up, infant mortality went down, D.C. had its first comprehensive program to fight AIDS, and we got homeless people out of hotels and into apartments. And he did it while cutting bureaucracy and streamlining operations.

So we’re happy to compare his record of mismanagement and cronyism against Vince Gray’s record of success any day.

  • S.E.

    Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the Fenty campain keeps bringing up/going back to 1990? I mean his management style is a carbon copy of the Mayor of 1990.

  • annoying

    I am getting annoyed by this 82 million dollar exaggeration of the Gray campaign. I believed for months all 82 million dollar contracts were awarded to Banneker when in fact Banneker received 4 million as general contractor fee.
    While 4 million is not peanuts is also not 82 million.
    Advice to Gray: dont lie, don't exaggerate. Do you want to make a point? make it and move on.

  • Southeast Resident

    Annoying, you must have missed the statement that you just read from the Gray campaign. Don't get stuck on stupid! Just pick an area on waste and mismanagment in the DC government over the last four years and Fenty's hand prints are all over it! When he was questioned about his consistent mismanagment of the Summer Jobs Progam which resulted in waste of millions of hard earned DC taxpayer dollars, he responded at least he did something. At that point, I was convinced that it was time for a change. I guess you are one of the lucky ones that Fenty paid a visit to during his campaign to ask you about your concerns and what he could do for you? Well, he didn't care to do so during his tenure, so why is he bothering now. It is too late! Hit the road Fenty and don't come back no mo'!

  • http://.. Marie Jackson

    annoying

    Just imagine how you will feel on September 15.

  • Cry me a River

    If Fenty keeps talking about going back to the 90's. Gray should ask if Fenty wants to go back to the 90's when he was disciplined by the Bar for stealing a clients' money? Does DC want a Mayor who has not learned for the 90's not to be corrupt and unethical?

  • http://ABF ABF

    IF FENTY COULD COME INTO THE YEAR 2010 HE MIGHT NOT SOUND AS STUPID! GRAY WAS NOT THE MAYOR IN 1990, BUT FENTY DAMN SURE IS THE MAYOR NOW SO WE AS TAX PAYERS HAVE GOOD REASON TO BLAME HIM. SO WE MAY NOT WANT TO GO BACK, BUT WE DAMN SURE DO NOT WANT TO CONTINUE WITH YOU!!!

  • DC native

    @SE - I have been thinking the exact same thing! Barry and Fenty have alot of similiarities. Many would argue that their favorite (which ever you supported) did alot for the City. But each have demonstrated chronyism, disrepect for legal channels and arrogance. Barry has the advantage of Actually being intelligent and fun to talk to. People LIKE him.

    So...which current candidate is a throughback? Makes you go hmmmm :)

  • anybody butFenty

    Marion Barry did include the rest of the city in on the contracts. All of our children benefited from the summmer jobs. We did see blacks residents working at constructions sites. He had his faults,but the was not rude as hell and non reponsive to citizens. He had many faults drug abuse and womanizing,but I figure is his wife put up with the nonsense thats her business.Every one had a chance to bid on contracts because they were not driven thru the side or back door at the parks department. I liked Barry he just could not get his life together. This guy I do not like, I voted for him last election,but this time I voted for Mr. Gray.

  • ward8forreal

    One question, people praise Barry for giving people jobs along time ago. Why nobody seesm to remember that during this time, the city's finances were in ruin, we had the worst schools in the nation, and were known as the murder capitol. I presume that if your city goes into complete federal recievership, that is fine. Even though that was the first time in a nation's history, this had ever happen. Funny how Gray's campaign never denies the fines and failures...
    Please file a FOIA request with DHS nd the White House and ask for the lettersd that supported using FY12 TANF money now for teh Summer Youth Jobs as teen unmployment in DC hs been a record high for over 60 years. it is also ironic how people say how high the unemployment rate in wards 7 and 8 are currently as if this originated with Mayor Fenty. People defend Gray's record by asserting he was not the mayor so does not that sound lkike the exact reason why he sound never be a mayor? Short analysis: Gray oversaw a billion dollar budget, cause the city to pay 5 million for denying the homeless shelter, 1 million for an unconstitutional foster care system, 4 million for Cedar Knolls, caused the city to lose 56 million in federal funds by not filling out paperwork, DHS budget was 1/3 of the overall city budget,DHS along with the entire city went into federal recievership, and yet he deserves to be Mayor???
    Recent misgiving:
    Gray gave 300 million to WC n Smith who was the city countractor for the illegal fence, gang intervention funds to Harry Thomas Jr., cut the funding for the trolley car project (check the CP archives), cut the summer youth program when a letter from DHS and the White House urged DC to use FY12 funding for the TANF program (which encompasses TANF, employments, homeless, etc etc), a 38 million dollar lottery contract was steered to Emanuel Bailey, son of Barbara Bailey, a former DHS employee from Gray's tenure, and the Offic of Campaign Finance made Gray return 5k of the 10k he solicted from Comcast in 2008 on council stationary. Yet he should be MAYOR

  • ward8forreal

    One question, people praise Barry for giving people jobs a long time ago. Why nobody seems to remember that during this time, the city's finances were in ruin, we had the worst schools in the nation, and were known as the murder capitol. I presume that if your city goes into complete federal receivership, that is fine. Even though that was the first time in a nation's history, this had ever happened. Funny how Gray's campaign never denies the fines and failures...
    Please file a FOIA request with DHS and the White House and ask for the letters that supported using FY12 TANF money now for the Summer Youth Jobs as teen unemployment in DC has been a record high for over 60 years. It is also ironic how people say how high the unemployment rate in wards 7 and 8 are currently as if this originated with Mayor Fenty’s administration. People defend Gray's record by asserting he was not the mayor at that time; so does not that sound like the exact reason why he should never be Mayor? Furthermore people say Gray’s needs a chance, I interrupt that to mean that despite the numerous misgivings in former occupied positions, Gray is on the road to redemption so lets jump on the bandwagon…
    Short analysis:
    Gray oversaw a billion dollar budget, cause the city to pay 5 million for denying the homeless shelter, 1 million for an unconstitutional foster care system, 4 million for not doing anything about Cedar Knolls, caused the city to lose 56 million in federal funds by not filling out paperwork, DHS budget was 1/3 of the overall city budget, DHS along with the entire city went into federal receivership, and yet he deserves to be Mayor???
    Recent misgivings:
    Gray gave 300 million to WC n Smith in uncompetitive bids and WC n Smith was the city contractor for the illegal fence that was constructed at his Hillcrest home with no permit and the renovations. Gray gave gang intervention funds to Harry Thomas Jr. He cut the funding for the trolley car project in the middle of the night and caused the city to lose millions and have to take out a loan that must be repaid over the next 10 years, (check the CP archives). Gray called the city council off recess and voted to cut the summer youth program even though a letter from DHS and the White House urged DC to use FY12 funding for the TANF program (which encompasses TANF, employments, homeless, etc etc). Gray and Marion Barry held secret meetings with Emmanuel Bailey for two years prior to him being awarded a 38 million dollar lottery contract. Emanuel Bailey is the son of Barbara Bailey, a former DHS employee from Gray's tenure. Emmanuel Bailey does not even have an office and works out of his mother’s house, located nearby the SE Tennis and Learning Center. The Office of Campaign Finance made Gray return 5k of the 10k he solicited from Comcast in 2008 on council stationary. Not one of Gray’s paid hecklers have yet to give me a logical reason for why Gray would make a better Mayor than Fenty. The central theme to the Gray platform is that Fenty is arrogant, cry me river. Everything was all to the good when Marion was smoking more crack than a little bit, now give a slow hand clap for the Ward 8 council member who when asked to talk about one thing new he contributed to DC, let alone Ward 8 since 2001, other than what the Mayor has done, he replies, “I am not going to go there with you.

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