- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mayor Adrian Fenty is calling in a favor from the White House: He wants an endorsement from the other chief executive in town, President Barack Obama.

Mr. Fenty, who is down in the polls, made the appeal during a radio interview on WTOP, acknowledging he is personally seeking an endorsement from Mr. Obama, a fellow Democrat whom the mayor and his wife backed early in the 2008 presidential election.

Such an endorsement has benefits, observers said, but an endorsement also points a possible change in coattail strategy by the White House.

The request comes as Mr. Obama’s value on the campaign trail has been severely devalued as the economy struggles and his personal popularity has plunged. Political pundits note that Democratic candidates in a number of key states are positively shunning any suggestion of White House support, for fear that too close an identification with the president could hurt them at the polls.

In heavily Democratic D.C., however, the same calculus does not apply, a fact that even a top official for the opposition conceded.

“For years, D.C. has heard the comparison between the president and the mayor,” Paul Craney, executive director of the D.C. Republican Party, told The Washington Times. “It only makes sense that Mayor Fenty is seeking the president’s endorsement. It will be one of the few endorsements in this year’s election in which the White House isn’t toxic for the candidate.”

Mr. Fenty and his wife, Michelle, were early backers of then-Sen. Obama’s longshot run for the Democratic nomination for president.

On Wednesday, the mayor said he personally reached out to Mr. Obama, although he does not think the president will make a personal appearance on the campaign trail prior to the city’s Sept. 14 primary.

“I have personally reached out,” Mr. Fenty told WTOP’s Mark Seagraves. “I don’t want to get into who I would have talked to for obvious reasons.”

When asked if Mr. Obama would appear on the stump, Mr. Fenty replied, “I don’t think so. For lots of reasons, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Polls suggest Mr. Fenty faces an uphill battle against D.C. City Council Chairman Vincent Gray in his quest for a second four-year term. The Democratic nomination up for grabs in Tuesday’s primary is considered tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic city.


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