Fenty Disconnect With Black Voters Emerges As Major Theme at Washington Post Debate | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Fenty Disconnect With Black Voters Emerges As Major Theme at Washington Post Debate

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By Patrick Madden

With less than two weeks until primary day in D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty and top challenger Vincent Gray took part in a one-hour, high-stakes debate at the Newseum.

Like a heavyweight battle between two boxers with a long history, Fenty and Gray know each other's soft spots, and at Wednesday's debate, Gray hammered the mayor's leadership style, while Fenty touted the results under his watch. But in the end, little new ground broken. No knock out blows delivered.

But the mayor, now badly trailing in polls, did offer a new side of himself, a vulnerable side that admits it hurts to hear that most African-American voters now hold an unfavorable view of him.

"Anybody who says they don't want someone to like them, they're lying to you," says Fenty. "Anybody who says that they don't want someone of their own of their own race and background to like them, they'd be lying, so yes, of course, it hurts."

That pain was underscored by his wife Michelle Fenty who during the post-debate scrum with reporters broke down several times.

"The poll was so striking to me and to hear the things that people were saying about my husband that I know is not true," says Fenty choking up.

Primary day is September 14th.

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