O'Malley continues Ehrlich, Bush link

Mayor stresses Iraq war, Foley scandal

Maryland Votes 2006

October 10, 2006|By Doug Donovan | Doug Donovan,sun reporter

Mayor Martin O'Malley and running mate Anthony G. Brown continued yesterday their Democratic campaign's strategy to tie Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to national Republicans, whose popularity has plummeted in Maryland.

Despite Ehrlich's high job-approval ratings, O'Malley seized on the Iraq war and the scandal surrounding former GOP Rep. Mark Foley's improper e-mail contact with teenage boys to undercut the Republican incumbent governor's support.

"When you see the appalling cover-up by the speaker of the House [of] a person who was preying on children, I think all of those things are sickening people," O'Malley said. "I think the people of Maryland are tired of being lied to. They're tired of having their government used for untoward and cruddy purposes."

Political observers have said that O'Malley's strategy to tie Ehrlich to the national GOP and President Bush is an obvious ploy in a state where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 2-to-1. A poll for The Sun last month, however, showed that Bush's high negatives were not affecting Ehrlich in the governor's race.

Ehrlich said yesterday that O'Malley's comments were typical of a mayor who often blames the federal government for his city's woes. "Whining is not part of leadership. Being self-obsessed is not part of leadership. Blaming George Bush for all of your ills is not leadership," Ehrlich said.

Still, the mayor went on to say that Republicans were part of a "neo-Libertarian aberration" in national politics aimed at convincing citizens that government cannot be trusted.

"They say government can't work and then when they get elected they do everything they can to prove that they're right," he said.

O'Malley said the governor has been falsely belittling the progress of Baltimore school children and police officers in campaign ads.

"Today, amidst the politics of fear and smear - with the mailboxes of so many Marylanders being stuffed full of Bob Ehrlich's nasty attack mail - Anthony and I bring you good news," O'Malley said. "And that is, as a state, there is still more that unites us then divides us."

He said voters should prepare to see Ehrlich "engaging in dirty tricks, whisper campaigns, [and] smear" tactics over the next few days.

Ehrlich spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver said "by that statement alone, O'Malley is engaging the very practices that he is falsely accusing Bob Ehrlich of."

doug.donovan@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Andrew Green contributed to this article.

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