Marion Barry: Judge me by 31 years of public service, not by one night in 1990

"Look beyond my mistakes" is the message former DC Mayor Marion Barry wants readers to take away from his new memoir, "Mayor for Life: The Incredible Story of Marion Barry Jr."

The four-term mayor kicked off his book tour with a dinner with reporters Friday night.

"This book is about help and hope. It's about educating people about the facts, talking about probably the most overcoming person probably in America," the 78-year-old said of himself.

The event was organized by Look restaurant owner Michael Kosmides and Janet Donovan of Hollywood on the Potomac.

Barry stayed on message.

"Don't judge me by one night, judge me by hundreds of nights, hundreds of days, hundreds of years, 31 years in DC of public service," he told NewsChannel8.

Barry, who was arrested in 1990 for cocaine possession, said he doesn't want his legacy to be the Vista Hotel.

Friday night, he addressed the event apologetically.

"I should have not gone to that hotel, I should have not gone into the room, I take for responsibility for that," Barry said.