Ad calls Ehrlich `hazardous to health'

Two advocacy groups paying for radio spot

October 04, 2002|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

Two of the state's leading environmental and health care advocacy organizations are starting a radio advertising campaign today calling Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. "hazardous to your health."

The 60-second spot focuses on air pollution, smoking and prescription drug prices, three areas in which Ehrlich has been criticized by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

"We think people need to know Mr. Ehrlich's position on these issues," said Vincent DeMarco, executive director of the health organization. "Air pollution, tobacco and prescription drugs are very important to the health of Marylanders, and if he were elected governor, his position would be hazardous to their health."

The two groups plan to spend at least $50,000 to air the spot on radio stations across the state, joining at least two other advocacy organizations that have run ads attacking the Baltimore County congressman's record. DeMarco's group also contributed to a previous radio spot.

A spokesman for Ehrlich called the ad another effort to "paint Bob as a monster."

"They're doing precisely what we've known they have planned for some time, which is to coordinate all of the hate ads," said Ehrlich spokesman Paul E. Schurick.

A spokesman for Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said her campaign has nothing to do with the new radio ad or any other spots put on by independent advocacy groups.

The new radio ad includes three telephone calls to a doctor's office, with patients complaining about air pollution, cigarette smoking and the cost of prescription drugs. In each case, a nurse criticizes Ehrlich's record and gives patients an appointment on Nov. 5, the date of the election.

"We are hopeful that this will start getting environmental issues talked about more in the campaign," said Susan Brown, executive director of the environmental group, which has endorsed Townsend.

Brown points to failed legislation co-sponsored by Ehrlich in Congress that would have made it harder for the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce tougher air pollution standards, and to bills to strengthen vehicle emissions standards, which he opposed in the General Assembly.

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