As goes Maryland, so goes Iowa


September 28, 2005|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Martin O'Malley today makes official what we've known forever: He's running for governor.

But there could be a surprise in store for us after all.

Maybe Hizzoner will announce he's making a bid to run in Iowa instead of Maryland.

Consider the slogan on O'Malley's campaign Web site - "Moving Maryland Forward / A Future of Security, Opportunity, and Responsibility."

Now consider the mantra of Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack: "Responsibility, Opportunity and Security."

Those three little words are "values important to Iowans," Vilsack says on his gubernatorial Web site.

"It's a coincidence," said Jonathan Epstein, O'Malley's campaign manager, who previously worked as Iowa field director for the Kerry campaign.

"The mayor has been speaking in those terms since shortly after Sept. 11, 2001," he added. "But it's not surprising that they would have similar views."

As proof, Epstein e-mailed me the text of a July 2002 O'Malley speech that does, indeed, contain all three words, though not strung together as a slogan.

Not that Vilsack would mind a little cribbing.

As head of Heartland PAC, Vilsack is trying to help Democrats capture State Houses across the country.

He's almost asking to be ripped off.

"I want my party to be the party of reform, to be the party that speaks passionately of the values of opportunity and security and responsibility," Vilsack told the Des Moines Register in June.

In the same interview, Vilsack also said: "I want my party to be the party of ideas."

The Iowa governor has met with several candidates, but not O'Malley, says Matt Paul, Vilsack's spokesman.

"It's a mentoring relationship." Paul says. "It's a real exchange of ideas."

She came from another world to pick crabs at Obrycki's

Nicole Kidman was confronting alien life forms in Baltimore even before the cameras started rolling in Charm City this week.

The creatures in question were crabs, served up at Obrycki's Saturday night for the star, a novice picker who gamely wielded a mallet and got up to her elbows in Old Bay.

(OK, I'm taking liberties here. I'm told the Fells Point landmark uses its own spice blend, not Old Bay. But you get the idea.)

My spies tell me that Kidman had about a half dozen people at her table, including Joel Silver, who is producing The Visiting, a remake of the B-movie classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Dressed in jeans and a striped sweater, Kidman washed her crabs down with San Pellegrino instead of the traditional suds. She wanted fruit for dessert, but with none on the menu, found the cheesecake, Key Lime pie and ice cream "to die for."

I went the stadium for Ehrlich Day, and all I got

It was Bob Ehrlich Day at Camden Yards last night. So what freebies did the fans get?

Bowl haircuts?

Bobby bobbleheads?

Absentee ballots (so all those New Yorkers - which is to say, almost everybody in the stands - won't have to schlep back to Maryland to vote)?

The answer: Nothing. Zip. Nada.

There was no give-away.

Unless you count free publicity. And only one O's fan got to pocket that.

Easier to get into Gretna by way of Baltimore

The New Orleans suburb that was denounced as America's worst neighbor after Hurricane Katrina is thanking Baltimore for being a good one.

Mayor Ronnie C. Harris of Gretna, La., sent a letter to The Sun praising Mayor O'Malley and the "brave city workers" he sent to the city's aid after the storm.

Baltimore dispatched more than 100 firefighters, police and other personnel to Gretna, which came under fire for sealing off a bridge that was one of the last escape routes out of flooded New Orleans.

"I could not understand how a city, hundreds of miles away, could respond faster than the federal or state government when we needed help the most," Harris wrote.

Stephan G. Fugate, president of the Baltimore Fire Officers Association, said firefighters were glad to lend a hand - roadblock or no roadblock.

"I'm not going to be passing judgment on what someone else did to protect their own community," Fugate said. "We were simply offering the services that we had."

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