ABOVE: Mayor Rob Ford admits to smoking crack cocaine.
“Mr. Mayor, do you smoke crack cocaine?”
I have asked that question of Mayor Rob Ford more times that I can count in the last few months. As Ford walked out of his radio show on Sunday, I pointedly asked “What drugs have you smoked since you’ve become mayor?” Each time I asked that question, I was greeted with the same non-response, or occasionally denial or deflection.
I don’t know what prompted Mayor Ford to suddenly change his mind, and ask reporters to ask him that same question again. I don’t know when Ford reached the difficult personal decision to finally come clean.
As Ford stepped off the elevator Tuesday, he appeared set for his usual 25 foot dash past the cameras, straight into his office. He was walking at a brisk pace, and I decided I had to ask him something that would get his attention.
“Why do you keep sending your brother out to speak for you?” I shouted at the mayor. Earlier in the day Doug Ford had called a news conference to lash out at the police chief for his comments about his younger brother. The mayor paused, did a 180-degree turn and said “I’m not speak—he speaks for himself.”
Something remarkable happened in the next 60 seconds. Ford politely answered a few questions about the police investigation, the tape (that he still can’t comment on, because he hasn’t seen it), and then he stopped himself mid-sentence.
“You asked me a question back in May, and you can repeat that question,” said Ford to the assembled crush of reporters.
After a few confused mumbles from the press, Ford offered up the bait a second time. “You asked me a couple questions, and what were those questions?”
I realized the mayor was about to lead us in a direction we had so desperately wanted to go for months. I seized the opportunity to ask that burning question, one more time. “Do you smoke crack cocaine,” I asked. If I sounded the least bit sarcastic, It’s because I had no reason to expect a response.
Read more: Complete coverage of the Rob Ford story
Ford would go on to describe his admission as being like 1,000 pounds taken off his shoulders. The feeling, Mr. Mayor, was mutual.
I do not know why Ford suddenly decided to go public. I do not know when he made that decision and who, if anyone, he told in advance. What I do know is, this was one of the most remarkable political moments in recent history.
Most politicians would opt for the teary press conference, hastily assembled in front of the requisite blue curtain, with their spouse waiting at stage left. Only Rob Ford would break his silence about crack cocaine use, in a manner so casual, he could have well been telling reporters what he ate for lunch.
I do not know where we go from here, and I’m not sure Mr. Ford knows that either. What I do know, is that love him, or loathe him, Rob Ford still has a lot of explaining to do, and chances are if he does keep talking, it will be on his own terms.
WATCH: Mayor Rob Ford says he won’t resign after smoking crack cocaine.