Three weeks after Comptroller William Donald Schaefer called Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. the dirtiest name in his book - "Glendening Jr." - the irascible former mayor and governor made nice with his Republican ally, apologizing and complimenting Ehrlich's good looks and well-tanned wife.
Schaefer, a Democrat, had a long-running feud with former Gov. Parris N. Glendening, using Board of Public Works meetings to lambaste him and attempt to block his agenda.
But for most of their three years in office together, Schaefer and Ehrlich have turned the meetings into a mutual love fest, with the comptroller doling out compliments and fatherly advice and the governor keeping Schaefer happy with a steady stream of cakes and pies, usually delivered by first lady Kendel Ehrlich.
That all changed last month when Schaefer, angry about the governor's response to the pending 72 percent increase in Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. rates, launched into a lengthy anti-Ehrlich rant. But by yesterday, he had calmed down.
"You have one hell of a situation," Schaefer said. "You're meeting as best you can. You did a good job with the 72 percent increase. You did well. I yelled at you and called you a bad name. I regret that. That's one of my idiosyncrasies."
Ehrlich laughed in response.
For good measure, Schaefer told the governor he is "a very handsome man, much better looking than I am."
However impressed Schaefer may be with Ehrlich, he made sure to mention that the governor has nothing on his wife, who, the comptroller noted, is a "great lady" with a fantastic tan.
Although Schaefer and Ehrlich disagreed on a few matters during the meeting, they teamed up to address the major issue of the day: the Maryland State Department of Education's takeover of 11 Baltimore schools.
The pair spent more than a half-hour at the beginning of the meeting praising state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and lamenting the lack of leadership in the city school system.
"There has to be new leadership somewhere, and I don't mean in the governor's office," said Schaefer, who also has feuded with Mayor Martin O'Malley.