Reaction to Schaefer: Dismay, Humor
The two Democratic candidates for governor expressed dismay Thursday with Comptroller William Donald Schaefer for ogling a 24-year-old woman in a public meeting Wednesday, aides said.
Even so, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan has no plans to remove a picture featured prominently on his Web site that shows Duncan and Schaefer joining hands at an endorsement event, a campaign aide said.
Duncan "believes the comments and behavior were inappropriate," said spokesman David Weaver.
Jonathan Epstein, campaign manager for Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, said his boss was also troubled by the episode, in which Schaefer asked the woman, an aide to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) to "walk again" out of the room so he could watch.
"It was totally unacceptable behavior that no one should have to endure in the work place," Epstein said.
Other leading Democrats also panned Schaefer's behavior yesterday, though some suggested they were not surprise.
"It was obviously a mistake, but the only people who would be shocked by the incident would be people who don't know William Donald Schaefer," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert.) "He's an attention-getter, and sometimes he doesn't realize it offends people."
Asked if Schaefer is a candidate Democrats should be embracing, Miller said: "You have to consider the totality of the candidate. It's hard to overlook his record of achievement in the past."
The Associated Press reported that the incident sparked plenty of jokes in and around the State House.
At a news conference Thursday on an increase in Maryland's minimum wage, a Democratic senator waved Montgomery Del. Peter Franchot, who is running against Schaefer in the Democratic primary, over to the other side of the room. As Franchot arrived, he leaned toward the male senator, expecting to talk, but the senator said, "Now, walk again!" to laughter from Franchot and other Democrats.
Still, Franchot said he does not plan to make the episode a campaign issue.
Schaefer, who scolded the press Wednesday for criticizing him, wasn't talking Thursday.
"We're done talking about it," said spokesman Michael Golden.
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