The candidates' first debate was filmed 10/11 am at WJZ-TV in Baltimore and will be broadcast at 7 pm.
Baltimore Sun's Green writes: The debate "can't be seen as a complete success for" ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R). Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) "set the terms for the debate from the start by framing his actions over the last four years as tough decisions made in difficult times that were designed to move" MD forward. "That narrative got scant challenge from" Ehrlich "as he professed a desire not to 're-litigate the past' -- all the while doing just that."
"O'Malley was able to pitch his answers to swing voters," and Ehrlich "wound up spending too much of his time talking either to his base of conservatives" or to O'Malley's "base of minorities and liberals. It's a good thing that the campaigns have agreed to more debates because this one didn't truly match up" Ehrlich's "strongest arguments" with O'Malley's (10/11).
O'Malley and Ehrlich agreed 10/8 to a debate on WTOP radio on 10/22 and another debate on ex-state Sen. Larry Young's (D) morning show on WOLB 10/21 am. A 4th debate would be co-sponsored by Washington Post, WAMU and WUSA-9 and would be held 10/14 at noon. O'Malley's camp announced 10/10 that they "had accepted and 'hoped'" Ehrlich would as well (Kevin Robillard, TBD, 10/11).
Ehrlich released a new 30-second TV ad running in the Baltimore market 10/8. Full script, "History":
ANNCR: "Martin O'Malley sworn in. Inherits a billion dollar surplus, low unemployment. O'Malley signs the biggest tax hike in Maryland history, raids Chesapeake Bay Fund to cover spending, gives raises to top aides. Business climate ranks 45th worst in the nation, now 200,000 jobs lost. O'Malley covers up jobs report that proved Maryland's economy stalled. If re-elected, O'Malley will raise taxes again. Whether he does is up to you" (Youtube, 10/8).
O'Malley mgr Rick Abbruzzese: "Bob Ehrlich knows better than to trot out more false attacks that have been discredited by independent media organizations, but he's clearly getting desperate as his campaign loses momentum" (release, 10/8).
The Ad Verdict
Both candidates' ads, and there are many of them, "have offered one of the best windows into the visions, strategies, twists and turns of the two candidates and their campaigns. What started out in July with Ehrlich vowing to take the high road while denouncing his opponent's attack ads now finds Ehrlich going negative as well -- with some serious help from" the RGA.
According to Nielsen Co. findings, in the week 9/27 to 10/3 O'Malley ran 397 ads to Ehrlich's 298. "But the Ehrlich campaign ran all of its ads in the Baltimore market, while O'Malley ran 122 in Washington."
"According to Nielsen, Ehrlich has some on-air catching-up to do." "Under the heading 'TV presence,' which measures 'total airtime -- paid, free, positive or negative,' the report notes that 'Ehrlich consistently led O'Malley.' But it then goes on to explain that Ehrlich's 'bigger lead' is 'largely due to the negative ads' by O'Malley."
"Translation: Ehrlich's getting more mentions on Baltimore and Washington TV, but many of them are coming from O'Malley ads that depict Ehrlich negatively" (Zurawik, Baltimore Sun, 10/8).
Show Me Some Energy
O'Malley and Ehrlich "exchanged blows on energy policy" 10/9 "following news that Constellation Energy had shelved its proposal to build a new reactor at its Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant, citing 'unworkable' loan guarantee terms from" Pres. Obama's admin.
Ehrlich blamed O'Malley "for failing to help negotiate a deal between Constellation and the Energy" Dept "on a project that could mean" 4K jobs for MD.
Ehrlich, in a statement: "Governor O'Malley had an obligation to broker an agreement between these parties in order to make this economic development project a reality. He failed."
Abbruzzese: "Bob Ehrlich talking about energy policy is like Bob Ehrlich saying he didn't raise taxes and fees by $3 billion. He has no credibility on either issue."
An e-mail sent 10/9 am to employees by Constellation chair/CEO Mayo Shattuck "included words of praise for O'Malley and other" MD elected officials.
Shattuck: "Throughout the past many months, we have had the firm support of the Maryland congressional delegation, the governor, our allies in labor and the people of Southern Maryland" (Wagner, Washington Post, 10/9).
It Wasn't Me
Annapolis Capital editorializes: "All the decisions that led to the current proposal for slots next to (Anne) Arundel Mills mall happened on O'Malley's watch and with his approval. ... The O'Malley campaign has evidently decided that (the ballot initiative relating to slots at Anne Arundel Mills mall) will lose, and hopes it can peel away a few GOP votes in Anne Arundel County by broadly hinting that Ehrlich is the evil genius behind slots at Arundel Mills. This doesn't even qualify as disingenuous. It's a farce" (10/8).
Ladies Who Brunch... With Bob
Ehrlich pushed for the female vote for the second day in a row. 10/8, he visited the home of Moms for MD dir. Tammy Larkin.
Ehrlich: "Obviously, women and moms are a big part of this campaign."
Larkin "distributed a handout with a list of 10 ways women could become more involved in the Ehrlich campaign, including wearing an Ehrlich t-shirt to 'practices, at the gym and when you are running errands to get the word out about Bob Ehrlich'" (Wagner, Washington Post, 10/8).
Like "just about every other" MD politician "of the past 3 decades," both GOV candidates "say they are dedicated to restoring the Chesapeake Bay," though they have different solutions. On climate issues of all kinds, the candidates are at odds.
Ehrlich "pledges ... to give farmers, watermen and developers 'a seat at the table' in fashioning policies and laws affecting their livelihoods."
"O'Malley says he, too, believes in forging consensus and encouraging voluntary conservation. ... He says his administration has listened to growers, builders and fishermen in shaping rules that govern them. But to safeguard the environment, he adds, some business and individual activities must be regulated more tightly" (Wheeler, Baltimore Sun, 10/11).