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FILE - In this July 9, 2011 file photo, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, right, listens as DC Council member and former Washington Mayor Marion Barry speaks during a Ward 8 Community Summit in Washington. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt, File) FILE - In this July 9, 2011 file photo, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, right, listens as DC Council member and former Washington Mayor Marion Barry speaks during a Ward 8 Community Summit in Washington. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt, File)  

DC city councilman Marion Barry defends himself: ‘God gave me a great brain’

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Marion Barry, the Washington, D.C. city councilman with a knack for finding himself in hot water, is arguing that not only is he “one of the most successful elected officials in America” but that “God gave me a great brain.”

The former Washington mayor caught on camera smoking crack cocaine in 1990 defended himself in a stunning interview with The Washington Examiner after finding himself in a firestorm last week for making offensive comments about Asian-Americans.

“I’m doing God’s work,” Barry told the paper. “I have made public service my ministry. God gave me a great brain, courage, charisma, vision and the kinds of things that make leaders.”

Barry had to apologize last week after video surfaced of him saying, “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses — those dirty shops.”

“They ought to go,” Barry also said. “I’ll just say that right now, you know. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

But in this new interview, he maintained that the dustup over his racially insensitive comments wasn’t “challenging to me.”

“The biggest challenge I’ve overcome is the FBI setting me up,” Barry said of his 1990 arrest. “People in Washington understood what they were trying to do.”

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