When it comes to bouncing back from supposedly career-ending scandals, Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer could take lessons from Marion Barry.
“I identify with the fallen, whoever they may be,” Barry told me during a weekend visit to New York. “Everybody, at some point in life, is gonna get knocked down.”
Washington, D.C.’s “Mayor for Life,” a title Barry relishes even though it was bestowed sarcastically by his critics, looks damned good for a man of 77 who is in recovery from drug abuse, survived prostate cancer, suffers from diabetes—which causes him to walk with some difficulty—and was forced to get a kidney transplant 4 1/2 years ago. “It transformed my life,” he said of the new kidney, which was donated by a lady friend. “It made me look young. My skin is smoother.”
Barry famously spent six months in federal prison 22 years ago on a cocaine-possession conviction. (He told me he has been “clean” for two decades, notwithstanding a dropped marijuana-possession charge, and he recently stopped sipping wine “because I don’t want to mess up my new kidney.”) The jail time came after an eight-week trial punctuated by an FBI sting video of Hizzoner sucking on a crack pipe at the urging of former girlfriend Rasheeda Moore, in a Washington hotel room equipped with hidden cameras, where he uttered those iconic words: “Bitch set me up.”
“I’m very quotable,” Barry said with a laugh.
Now he was in town to appear on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show. As we sat in his Manhattan hotel room sipping Coca-Colas (his regular, mine diet), he roared with laughter when I mentioned that his bitter aside about his ex-girlfriend ended up decorating thousands of T-shirts, at the time a popular fashion statement.
“What I regret is not printing the T-shirts,” he said with a chuckle. “That’s what I regret.”
Monday, July 15, 2013
Identifying with the fallen
Author Prime at 8:11 AM