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The First Lady's New Career


Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and his wife Kendel Ehrlich hit the talk show circuit this morning to defend the first lady's job with Comcast.

Her job, as reported in Tuesday's Post, involved producing and starring in a television talk show. Comcast Cable Communications Inc. paid to host 16 episodes of "Live Right: Straight Talk on Substance Abuse," which can be seen only in the cable provider's on-demand library. Her salary was $55,000, a spokesman for the first lady said.

Kendel, who declined through a spokesman to comment for the Post's story, told WCBM radio in Baltimore that this was a "non story" because she had worked with Comcast for years. (She started when her husband took a seat in Congress on the telecommunications subcommittee.)

"There is no story," she said. "It's just amazing, isn't it."

The Ehrlichs also called the story an attack on women who work.

"I hope women are offended by the article," Kendel Ehrlich said.

She is one of several relatives or friends of prominent public officials who have worked for Comcast at times when the cable giant has business before the government.

By  |  March 7, 2006; 9:24 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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of course its a story. other political spouses have made the news by getting paid to do nothing by those with interests in regulations and laws that the pols control. taping episodes of a show that no one watches counts as a payoff to me. we need to know how much she was paid.

i'd like my democracy back.

Posted by: MD voter | March 7, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Yes, and I heard that the spouse of another MD gubernatorial candidate who is currently in a position of power has a job that poses a conflict of interest from time to time, but it goes unmentioned.

Posted by: Stephan | March 7, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Neither is a conflict. The only time it becomes a story is when the Republicans retreat into defend mode every time someone asks them a question about something they are doing.

Denying to comment, like Kendal is doing, suddenly makes it a story. If she simply said, "yes, I am doing it, and I hope that it has a positive effect on the community we are trying to reach" then the story would go away.

Instead, the Ehrlichs feel, much like their idols, the Bushes and the Cheneys, that they are above question and immediately deny everything. No matter how minor.

Oh and Stephan, an answer to your comment, a sitting Baltimore City Circuit Court judge is not, either by law or practice, in conflict with the Governor, if they happen to be married. Period.

Posted by: KR | March 7, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ms. Ehrlich on one point - it truly is amazing.

Posted by: OMD | March 7, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Erhlich, I'm a woman and I'm not even slightly offended by the Post article. Please disclose how much Comcast is paying you. With that information and your qualifications for the position, the voters can decide for themselves whether you obtained the show and job on your own merits and are paid commensurate with your experience, or whether you got it because you are a politician's wife. Its a legitimate question. I know a number of sublimely qualified women who could do that Comcast job very well.

Posted by: Not offended | March 7, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what The First Lady's ratings are? If Ida Putz lead the show and had the same ratings, would the show go on? Same pay?

Posted by: CB | March 8, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Have you ever seen the First Lady handle a difficult trial? She is very talanted. Comcast got off dirt cheap at $55,000 per year!!The First Lady was amazing before she ever married the Gov.This story is political trash.Did she forfeit her Juris Doctor and years of experience by marriage?

Posted by: Local Lawyer | March 8, 2006 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Where did you get the $55,000 per year figure? Everything I read says she did not disclose the figure? What else is in the agreement?

Posted by: how do you know | March 9, 2006 8:12 AM | Report abuse

re: Post article today on the potential conflict in interest issue.
If Ms. Ehrlich was out on FMLA leave she is guaranteed reinstatement to the same job at the same salary and benefits level. Plus, Comcast would have paid her benefits, etc. at the same rate as during her paid time on the job. (couldn't be sure from the article if it was FMLA leave or not) Oh, and having a JD doesn't entitle or qualify anyone to have a TV show. It it did, there would be no room on the airwaves for our beloved American Idol.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 9, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Re: the salary, the day after the initial story ran, Kendel Ehrlich's spokeswoman announced that she made $55,000 a year from Comcast. I'll link to that story and the today's offering on the item above.

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | March 9, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

Posted by: WRB | March 9, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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