The two candidates for governor traded charges yesterday over which side had ducked debates, as Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey canceled -- and then abruptly agreed to -- an appearance with Gov. Parris N. Glendening on a national cable television talk show.
Both candidates had been scheduled to appear on "Larry King Live" last night, but Sauerbrey pulled out yesterday morning, noting a scheduling conflict. She said she wanted to honor a previously scheduled visit to Yeshivat Rambam, an Orthodox Jewish school in Baltimore.
"I keep my commitments," Sauerbrey said in the morning. "We have kids all excited to be there. It would be great to be on national television, but I'd rather be with the children of Maryland."
She reversed course last night, after the Glendening campaign charged that Sauerbrey had again ducked an appearance with the governor.
"When we found out this evening that they were able to set up a remote [from a Baltimore television station], we immediately said yes," said Carol L. Hirschburg, spokeswoman for the Sauerbrey campaign.
"She should really make up her mind; it's troubling," said Peter S. Hamm, Glendening's campaign spokesman. "We're happy she's here."
The two were featured as part of a broader program looking at campaign advertising in close races nationally in Tuesday's election.
During the roughly eight-minute segment, Sauerbrey accused Glendening of distorting her position on abortion and civil rights, while the governor defended his ads as accurate.
Sauerbrey also criticized Glendening for distancing himself from President Clinton because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal -- skipping an appearance at a suburban Washington school -- before accepting support from the White House. "If the president comes to Maryland to honor our schoolchildren, I'd be there," she said.
Glendening and Sauerbrey have appeared in one formal televised debate, held Friday. Each campaign has blamed the other for refusing to agree to additional dates.
The TV show ended a busy day of campaigning, which began for both candidates in Montgomery County.
Senior citizens there got another solid dose of state politics as Glendening stumped at a Rockville retirement community with Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, while Sauerbrey discussed her tax cut for retirees in Silver Spring.
Glendening stressed his proposal to give patients the right to sue health maintenance organizations for subpar care.
He also took a swipe at Sauerbrey's call for an income-tax cut for retirees. "We're going to jeopardize the services that we need to be a fair and a civil and compassionate society," he said.
At Leisure World in Silver Spring, Sauerbrey talked up her promised tax cut for retirees earning more than $15,900 in annually.
She repeated her call for a program to expand state-subsidized home health care for the elderly who are not sick or frail enough to be in a nursing home.
"It makes good sense," she said, adding it would "save the state money" and allow seniors to remain at home longer instead of going into nursing homes.
Pub Date: 10/29/98