Watch: Vince, Michelle, and The Uncomfortable News Conference
Michelle Rhee said it best today by saying nothing at all.
The schools chancellor looked awkward, unhappy, and basically like she'd rather be anywhere else on the planet than standing well off to the side from Almost Mayor Vincent Gray as he addressed the press after their 90 minute meeting.
You'll recall, of course, that Rhee has been a major topic of conversation both during and after the recent mayoral race. Now that the election is over, guessing whether or when she leaves is hottest story in town.
Gray said he and Rhee had a "candid discussion" about school issues, but the big topic that's on everyone's mind—will she stay or will she go—didn't come up.
"We did not talk about Chancellor Rhee staying or going, we talked about the state of education in the city, and I think we should leave it there at this point," Gray said, adding that future meetings to discuss such things are planned.
The normally outspoken Rhee, whose willingness to not mince words has won her lots of admirers (and plenty of detractors), refused to say anything to the media, despite repeated, repeated, and repeated questions from a pretty brutally aggressive press corps that badgered her while she rode the elevator down five stories of the Wilson Building and out into the street while she was waiting for her SUV.
Instead of talking Rhee spoke volumes in other ways. She kept a healthy distance from Gray while he was talking, wore a facial expression that said "Dear Lord, please beam me out of here," and started heading for the exit even before the news conference was over.
LL saw Gray briefly in his office after the whole mess and brought up how distant Rhee's body language seemed. Gray seemed pretty upbeat about his conversation with Rhee (or maybe he was still riding high from his morning visit from Ward 3 Gray voter Attorney General Eric Holder) and cautioned LL into construing too much from body language and facial expressions.
LL's boss says the same thing, and who knows, maybe they're both right. After all, who wouldn't feel uncomfortable with a half dozen cameras shoved in your face?
How about you decide for yourself, here's a brief (low grade) video clip: