Marion Barry: Forgive Me, Voter

In an unlikely comeback, ex-cocaine abuser Marion Barry has a chance to be Washington's mayor again

When most Americans think of Marion Barry, this is what they see: a grainy FBI videotape showing the mayor of Washington, D.C., in a hotel room smoking a pipeful of crack cocaine. That image, followed by his trial and conviction on a drug charge, turned Barry and the District of Columbia into international symbols for all that was wrong with America's drug-infested cities. It was the kind of scandal that destroys political careers forever.

That was four years ago. On a street corner in northwestern Washington one evening last week, Barry stood on top of a ladder, his arms wrapped around...

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