Glendening, Taylor blast new Sauerbrey TV ad Commercial suggests governor will raise gas tax by 50 cents

Campaign 1998

October 07, 1998|By William F. Zorzi Jr. and Michael Dresser | William F. Zorzi Jr. and Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey sharply attacked Gov. Parris N. Glendening yesterday with a new television advertisement, which drew immediate rebukes as inaccurate and unfair and brought a demand from the governor's campaign that the ad be taken off the air.

The 30-second Sauerbrey spot, which began appearing yesterday on television stations in the Baltimore and Washington markets, charges that "he built stadiums instead of schools." It also suggests that the governor is planning to raise gasoline taxes by up to 50 cents a gallon to finance a $15 billion expansion of the Washington Metro system.

The ad goes on to state that "Even the Democratic House speaker says it means higher taxes, up to 50 cents a gallon" -- an assertion that infuriated House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., an Allegany County Democrat.

"Ellen Sauerbrey's new television ad contains a statement attributed to me that is just a bold-faced, belligerent lie. It is outrageous," Taylor said in a statement released last night. "I've never said anything like what she attributed to me -- and the reason I've never said anything like it is that it's just not true."

Peter S. Hamm, a Glendening campaign spokesman, said that the Sauerbrey campaign should "remove this ad from the air because it's sloppy and inaccurate."

"She made up a quote from Cas Taylor out of whole cloth," he said.

Hamm pointed out that Glendening has spent more on schools in the last four years than in the previous eight years combined. The administration this year committed $250 million for school construction and renovation, the most in a state budget since the early 1970s.

Sauerbrey spokeswoman Carol L. Hirschburg said the campaign would not remove the ad from the air and defended its claims.

"I'm sure we didn't make it up out of thin air," Hirschburg said. "If we used it in the ad, we got it from a reputable publication.

"The 50-cents-a-gallon was our estimation of what we think it would be, but I think the video portion of the ad quotes him accurately on what he said," she said.

The video portion quotes Taylor as saying "current level of revenue is totally inadequate," but it offers no context. It shows a date of Oct. 3, but no name of a publication is mentioned. Hirschburg could not say last night which publication was being cited.

Jim Dornan, another Sauerbrey spokesman, said the ad's assertions could be supported, but that the documentation was "locked up" last night.

Yesterday, Eileen M. Rehrmann, who challenged Glendening in the Democratic primary, came within an eyelash of endorsing Sauerbrey yesterday, as she welcomed the Republican candidate to Harford County for a high-profile tour.

Rehrmann, the county executive, declined to throw her support formally behind either candidate and cryptically indicated she would be too busy with county business to issue an endorsement before the Nov. 3 election.

Rehrmann, who once described herself as Sauerbrey's "worst nightmare," gave her a reception yesterday that was a candidate's dream. She clearly welcomed being photographed with Sauerbrey, whom she described as a friend from their days in the House of Delegates, and made little effort to conceal disdain for Glendening.

Only once did Rehrmann let down her display of formal neutrality. When Joe Swisher, an executive with the Northeast Maryland Technology Council, listed the region's needs in its efforts to retain jobs at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Rehrmann piped up, " and the next governor's help." Sauerbrey beamed.

Rehrmann, the only Democratic officeholder to challenge Glendening's re-election bid, withdrew from the race in August. Since then she has held private talks with the governor but has said nothing to indicate support for him.

Rehrmann said she invited Sauerbrey after the Republican candidate expressed interest in Harford County's initiatives on building a skilled work force.

Pub Date: 10/07/98

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