Former Mayor Anthony A. Williams joined Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Council member Jim Graham Tuesday morning in Columbia Heights for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in honor of all three of them and the nonprofit that helped make DCUSA possible.
But the event in the lobby of the building anchored by Target resembled a campaign endorsement of Fenty (D) and Graham (D-Ward 1).
There was no plaque. Just a piece of glossy cardboard with their names.
Williams, who served two terms as Fenty's predecessor, is more popular than ever, receiving acknowledgment for the city's development. He praised Fenty and schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who was not in attendance.
"It's not about who's on your holiday card list. It's about who's delivering for this city," said Williams, who recently held a fundraiser for Fenty.
He credited Graham with helping to clean the city's waters, investing in transportation and improving neighborhoods. On the applause meter, Graham won overwhelmingly with Williams and Fenty trailing in third and fourth, respectively. Second place went to Robert L. Moore, president and chief executive of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights.
In an interview, Williams, who endorsed former Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp against Fenty in 2006, used his "holiday card list" line to explain his support of the mayor whose popularity has waned.
Ironically, Williams's official endorsement of Cropp in 2006 was held at the Giant supermarket in Columbia Heights.
Williams's endorsement of Fenty has caused a bit a family rift. His mother, Virginia Williams, is squarely in the camp of Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, Fenty's chief rival in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary. She can be seen frequently working the phones at the Gray offices.
"Obviously, I love and respect my mother. I disagree with her on this. She's probably going to disown me," Williams said, laughing.
Williams also noted that his endorsement hasn't carried much weight in the past, pointing to Cropp and former Council member Harold Brazil who lost to current Council member Kwame R. Brown in 2004. "I don't think my endorsement, one way or the other, makes a difference. People vote for the person," he said.
But what about his new found popularity? "If everybody who says they supported me now supported me then, I would have been coronated king," he said.