The news swept through local political circles over the weekend: D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams told a reporter for Bloomberg News Service that he is not inclined to seek a third term.

"I'm leaning that way, there's no question about it," Bloomberg quoted Williams as saying in a story published Friday. The mayor cited his frustration with the city's troubled and unmanageable public school system as a primary factor.

Yesterday, however, Williams (D) was back to playing coy.

The mayor has for months refused to answer questions about his political intentions for 2006, despite mounting evidence that he is ready to retire. He said his statements to Bloomberg in an interview Thursday reflect nothing more than his mood at the time.

"Some days I'm leaning one way, some days I'm leaning another. That's part of being in an undeterminate state," Williams said.

And how is he feeling this week?

"Today, I'm kind of more wrecked," Williams said. "But some days I'm leaning toward it. Whenever someone's in an undeterminate state, you're going to get a spectrum of views."

While the mayor dithers, an array of candidates is lining up for his job. D.C. Council members Adrian M. Fenty (D-Ward 4) and Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5) have launched mayoral campaigns, as has former telecommunications executive Marie C. Johns. Lobbyist Michael A. Brown and D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D) have said they will announce their plans in September.

Two weeks ago, Cropp confided that, "like many people," she does not expect Williams to run again. Her comment sparked widespread speculation that she and the mayor, political allies, have cut some kind of deal.

Not true, Williams said yesterday. There has been "some coordination" between him and Cropp regarding the timing of their respective announcements, with his due "early this fall," he said. "But we don't have some secret agreement or anything."

And don't look for any synchronized news conferences, Williams said. "I'm not looking for some big Frank Sinatra farewell."