We're about to find out, because the press conference is getting ready to start. Carcetti stares through the glass door at the assembled media throng -- and it is quite a large throng, so far as these things go -- and asks Norman and his weasel of a chief of staff if they remember what the Democratic Party told him he had to do if he ever aspired to be governor. Build something downtown, drive down the crime rate, and don't touch schools, the weasely chief of staff says. "And keep my boyish good looks," Carcetti adds ruefully. "One out four ain't bad," Norman says. I believe you just got served, Mr. Mayor -- Norman-style. Carcetti's too busy fuming that this is going to bury his earlier press conference about the New Westport development in the next day's papers. I dunno -- "Local Hothead Tells Developer, Mayor To Fuck Themselves" is a headline that would catch my eye. Anyhow, time to meet the press.
And meet them he does. Carcetti starts things off by sarcastically thanking the press for showing up when so many of them couldn't be bothered to appear at his New Westport grip-and-grin earlier in the day. "It would appear that media attention is always focusing on the negatives when it comes to Baltimore," he says, "but you guys aren't around when we're making real progress." Sitting in the audience, the notoriously pissy Sorzi scoffs. But Carcetti is not done -- he notes the presence of a number of national media in the crowd and again dials up the Sarcast-o-meter. "Thank you for caring enough about our most vulnerable citizens to address yourselves to this tragedy," he says. And that kick-starts a remarkably forthright monologue on the tragedy of homelessness -- how homeless people fall through the cracks, how they get little attention or resources, and how politicians aren't really motivated to fix the problem unless it's to shoo the unfortunates away. "We open a food bank here, a shelter there," Carcetti continues, as Norman looks on, trying to mask his astonishment. "We try to move them away from downtown, away from our communal areas, away from our schools, away from our homes. If you were to judge our society by the manner in which we treat those lost on our streets, we would have cause to be shamed. Well, I am, God help me, a politician" -- pause for appreciative laughter -- "but I am also someone who ran for public office because I believe there is a different way of governing. And I believe that, in the end, we will be judged not by the efforts we make on behalf of those who vote for us or those who contribute to our campaigns or those who provide for our tax base. I believe we will be judged by what we provide to the weakest and most vulnerable. That is the test. That is my test." And he's right, you know. Which is why I hope y'all will join me this November in voting for John Edwards for President. What? No, I haven't read the papers lately. He did? Aw, crap.
Carcetti's sermon thus concluded with a vow to do everything in his power to put a stop to the killings, he turns the podium over to Rawls, who is markedly less inspiring. Rawls assures everyone that the police are doing all they can to catch the perpetrator (except for convincing McNulty to stop pretending that he exists). "Homicide detectives are working around the clock," Rawls insists, which earns a sideways glance from Daniels. Then he opens the floor to questions. First question: any connection between these killings and the bodies found in the vacants last year? No connection, Rawls says firmly, and he couldn't be more wrong if he answered using a language that he invented three minutes before the press conference. Another reporter wants to know if the police will solicit any help from the FBI. Oh, a tricky question -- let's let Daniels field that one. The newly minted deputy commissioner of operations gives a forthright, just-the-facts answer, and as he deftly fields more questions, sounding reassuring and in charge of the investigation, we're treated to a shot of Carcetti staring at the future police commissioner with an "Oh, Cedric, after this is done, let's you and me get an apartment together" look of pure man-love. "As the mayor made very clear a moment ago," Daniels concludes, "this is now a priority for the department." If I had a McNulty-in-picture feature for my TV, right about now, I'd expect to see him grinning stupidly at this latest turn of events.