- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 6, 2006

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams is not seeking a third term, but he is still using his political sway to run against mayoral candidate and D.C. Council member Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat.

Mr. Williams, who in May endorsed D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp for mayor, has used public forums — including his weekly press briefing — to proclaim his distaste for the idea of a Mayor Fenty. He also has worked diligently behind the scenes raising money and support for Mrs. Cropp.

And for the first time in the campaign, he hit the streets with his candidate yesterday.

The two, followed by a gaggle of reporters, traversed parts of Ward 3 just south of American University for most of the afternoon knocking on doors, playing with children in a schoolyard and asking residents for votes.

“I think we need to really sober up and face what’s at risk here,” Mr. Williams said about Mr. Fenty. “Who has the experience? Who is ready to be mayor? All I’m saying is that it’s Linda Cropp.”

Much of Mr. Williams’ time with Mrs. Cropp, 58, was spent on the playground at Horace Mann Elementary School in Northwest talking and laughing with children and handing out campaign stickers.

Mr. Williams has said he thinks Mr. Fenty, 35, does not have enough experience to make a good mayor. He said Mr. Fenty’s age and his seeming disinterest in council meetings are signs that he is not ready for the Districts’ top job.

Mr. Fenty is known among his colleagues for toying with his Blackberry and answering constituent e-mails during council sessions instead of taking part in the often-lengthy debates.

“I believe that Adrian could, at some point, be a very good mayor,” Mr. Williams said. “I just don’t think he’s ready right now. He’s an excellent campaigner, and I don’t agree with those who say campaigning and government are completely different.”

Mr. Williams yesterday said he does not look at his relationship with Mrs. Cropp as campaigning against Mr. Fenty.

“I consider myself as campaigning for Linda Cropp,” Mr. Williams said. “One of the things I want to be able to do is help her get out here and communicate.”

Mr. Williams was criticized over the summer for not taking a more active, visible role in Mrs. Cropp’s campaign. He said he was awaiting Mrs. Cropp’s instructions and so far had done everything she asked, including making hours of fundraising calls.

Mrs. Cropp yesterday said she wanted to wait to use Mr. Williams’ help until the final week before Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

“We had said all along that as we got closer to the final push, we would utilize him for our campaign,” Mrs. Cropp said.

Mr. Williams was scheduled yesterday to canvass with Mrs. Cropp at noon in Chevy Chase. When he was a half-hour late, Mrs. Cropp rescheduled their appearance together to 2:30 p.m. near American University. The mayor again was a half-hour late.

Mr. Williams said his tardiness was not a sign that he is disinterested in the campaign. He said he was told about the event Tuesday.

Mr. Williams said he likely will campaign for Mrs. Cropp through the rest of the week and over the weekend before the primary.

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