Democrats choose O'Malley to deliver rebuttal to Bush's weekly radio address

January 24, 2003|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

Mayor Martin O'Malley has been selected by the U.S. Senate minority leader to give the Democratic rebuttal to President Bush's weekly radio address tomorrow.

It is unusual for Sen. Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, to choose a mayor to present the rebuttal, which is usually delivered by members of Congress, governors and others.

"We see this as a privilege," said Ranit Schmelzer, spokeswoman for Daschle. "Martin O'Malley is a very bright mayor with a lot of good ideas, and he represents an important city."

Officials in the mayor's office said they expect Bush to discuss the Department of Homeland Security and the possibility of war with Iraq.

O'Malley has repeatedly criticized the Bush administration for failing to help local governments with the high costs of homeland defense, which he believes is a federal responsibility.

Daschle chose O'Malley in part because he can speak on behalf of cities that are being forced to respond to demands placed on them by the Bush administration, Schmelzer said.

The speeches can be heard beginning at 10 a.m. tomorrow on WBAL 1090 AM.

Other Democrats chosen to respond to Bush's radio address have included Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Gov. Gray Davis of California and Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn.

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