Forget Bob Ehrlich -- try Faux Ehrlich

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September 01, 2006|By COLUMN | COLUMN,LAURA VOZZELLA

You can see the ad — In a new ad, a guy named Robert Ehrlich pops up in someone else's house. He doesn't offer to do plumbing or yardwork. Instead, he strolls into a living room where a gunman has just been shot dead by police. With hostages whimpering in the background, he begins: "Does this ever happen to you? Do you often find yourself being threatened in a hostage-like situation by a crazed psychopath? Well, you no longer have to feel this pain. You can be free from the cloud that is the crime in our cities. Vote Robert Ehrlich today."

You can see the ad - a spoof, with a blue-blazered young man playing Ehrlich - on www.youtube.com. And no, the kid isn't William O'Malley.

A second commercial shows an Asian teen shinnying through a series of tunnels. When he finally climbs out, he is warmly greeted by the same gubernatorial poseur, whose patrician bearing doesn't quite square with the real deal. (More Thurston Howell III than Boy from Arbutus. He even calls himself Robert, not Bob.)

"Hello, son. Welcome to America," he says. "I'm Robert Ehrlich. I like immigrants. Don't you?"

One thing - besides the production values - that's kinda fuzzy: Are the kids who made the spots pro-Ehrlich? Con? Or just goofing around with no real agenda? Still waiting to hear from them by YouTube.

The GOP is a big tent

Surprise supporter for the former seminarian in the U.S. Senate race: escort service owner. Janique Goff of La Jolla, Calif. gave $1,000 to Michael Steele's campaign in April. She identified herself as owner of Madison Communication, a "dating, escort and introduction service."

Steele spokesman Doug Heye said that was news to him and he'd look into it. I didn't hear back from Goff, whose business is listed in the La Jolla yellow pages along with "Buxom Beauties," "Hot Dreams Massage," and "Jenna's Centerfolds."

My constituents, my turf, my sign

Who was that guy spotted the other day pulling out a "David Boschert for Anne Arundel County Executive" campaign sign in broad daylight? None other than Del. John Leopold, one of Boschert's Republican rivals.

Every election season spawns tales of sign stealing. Usually the candidates themselves don't do the dirty work. Particularly if they're veteran state lawmakers - and known for dressing up like Honest Abe Lincoln.

But Leopold admits it and offers this explanation: His sign was there first. And he earned the prime spot - on Ritchie Highway, just north of Rte. 648 in Severna Park - with good constituent service. (Back in the 1990s, Leopold said he helped get some water mains moved so a church could expand its cemetery. The owner of the Ritchie Highway property is related to a church official.)

That's why Leopold was ticked off to see Boschert's black-and-white placard pop up next to his red-and-white one.

"I was angry," he said. "I earned that sign location because of my work in the community."

After he ripped out Boschert's sign, Leopold knocked on the homeowner's door and found out they'd approved the Boschert sign, too. So Leopold said he replanted it.

Don't mess with Scott's mother

First Martin O'Malley's mother appears in a TV ad. Now Scott Rifkin's mom is getting into the act with a recorded phone message for the state Senate hopeful. Don't expect the classic tear-jerky, vote for my little boy kinda thing. This is mom as campaign bulldog.

"Shame on Bobby Zirkin for trying to put sex offenders and violent criminals in our neighborhoods," I'm told she says. "And then he lied about it."

Rifkin, an Owings Mills physician, said his mother came up with the idea.

"My mom got a piece of mail from the Zirkin campaign that was inaccurate. She's the sweetest person - a nursery school teacher for 30 years - she wanted to respond to it. She's fiercely protective of her children."

Zirkin fought back with a robo-call of his own, with the president of the Baltimore County police union sticking up for him as "a true friend of public safety." Said Zirkin: "One of my supporters said, `Perhaps your grandmother should do it.'"

Connect the dots

Maryland's First Parents - Robert Ehrlich Sr. and wife, Nancy - celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary today. ... The work of the media is never done, even when the fire alarm is blaring. AP dutifully issued this "unstaffing advisory" yesterday: "The Baltimore office of The Associated Press is unstaffing at 10:34 a.m. because of a fire emergency in the building." ... Russell Simmons is taking some flak for supporting Michael Steele, but he stood by his man in a statement issued yesterday. "Some of my liberal friends and associates are quite upset with me," Simmons said. "Hip-hop culture ... transcends race, ethnicity, class [and] established political parties." ... And you thought he only ate fast food. William Donald Schaefer was spotted Wednesday night dining with Walter Sondheim at The Black Olive. ...

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