News & Politics

Fenty Fandom

An Obama administration official may like the mayor, but don’t look for the President to weigh in on this fall’s race just yet.

Over at Washingtonpost.com’s D.C. Wire, Tim Craig wonders if President Obama will send a message about whom he prefers in the District’s mayoral race, a question prompted by Office of Personnel Management director John Berry’s praise for Mayor Adrian Fenty at an event this morning. Berry notes, “Of course, Barry’s views on Fenty shouldn’t be construed as anything other than the opinions of a longtime city resident who just happens to work for Obama. But his comments, which come during the heat of the mayoral campaign, raise what many political strategists consider the big unknown in the election.”

Particularly in Berry’s case, I wouldn’t read too much into this yet. I covered Berry intently while I was a reporter at Government Executive, and he’s literally the most enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. That’s not to say he’s not capable of anger or disappointment or discernment. But when he’s happy or excited about something, he isn’t shy about the depth of his enthusiasm. And when he’s speaking on behalf of the President, he isn’t shy about making that clear, either. Today’s event—the renaming of part of 17th Street, Northwest, after pioneering gay-rights activist Frank Kameny—is also an issue close to Berry’s heart. He honored Kameny at the Office of Personnel Management early in his tenure, and Berry has himself made expanding benefits for the partners of gay and lesbian federal employees a priority of his term. So for today at least, it sounds like Berry was just being his ebullient self rather than acting as anyone’s messenger

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