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Ehrlich, Steele Skip Bush Visit

Governor

In his infamous background interview last month, the one where Michael Steele talked about the "Scarlet R" for Republican, a reporter asked the lieutenant governor if he wanted Bush to come to Maryland to campaign with him.
"To be honest," Steele responded, "probably not."

Well, on Labor Day, Bush turned up in Southern Maryland, delivering on a year-old promise to speak at a maritime training center in St. Mary's County. And where was Steele? Or fellow Republican, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.?

They were in Gaithersburg for the Labor Day parade.

Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staffwho traveled with the president to Piney Point, took it in stride, saying "they had existing events of their own."

"The president comes into Maryland often and we appreciate when he comes into Maryland," said Ehrlich spokesman Greg Massoni said. "[But] we agreed to be in that parade, and it was the right decision."

Steele spokeswoman Melissa Sellers said Steele would appear with Bush if he visits again. "The lieutenant governor is honored to have the support of the president, those in his own party and Democrats and independents alike," she said.

Their absence, though, quickly became political fodder for Democrats, who accused the Republican officeholders of dodging the unpopular president, even while allowing him to raise money for Ehrlich's bid for re-election and Steele's campaign for the U.S. Senate.

"This Labor Day, Ehrlich and Steele are afraid to be seen with the most anti-working class president since Herbert Hoover, even while they gleefully count his checks for their campaign," Maryland Democratic Party executive director said Derek Walker, executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party, said in a statement.

Rick Abbruzzese, spokesman press secretary for Ehrlich's Democratic opponent, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, said "one day off isn't going to fool anybody that Bob Ehrlich is George Bush's biggest supporter."

Philip Rucker

By Phyllis Jordan  |  September 5, 2006; 6:17 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Comments

If Ehrlich and Steele wanted to run as Independents, they should have collected the signatures and run as an Independent as Robin Ficker is doing for Montgomery County Executive. No Guts, No Glory!

Posted by: Angelina | September 5, 2006 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Sounds as if the Democrats are acting like a pack of stray dogs, yelping over every scrap of food they can find. It really says a lot.

Posted by: Rufus | September 5, 2006 8:05 AM | Report abuse

It sounds like Ehrlich and Steele are acting like two scared cats, running as fast as they can from their unpopular president....except, of course, when Bush is bring them campaign contributions.

Posted by: Baltimore voter | September 5, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

What really says a lot, is that the Republicans keep putting more and more distance between themselves and the President the closer we get to election time. Throughout the last term they have staunchly stood behind him with a creepy level of solidarity. But now that the time comes where his popularity is hurting because of his policies, they are nowhere to be found. Typical cover thine own mentality.

Posted by: Joe | September 5, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse


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Posted by: che | September 5, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The reaction from Democrats shows they have very little to offer in the Senate race. Instead of talking about what Cardin or Mfume stands for, they instead attack Steele for either being too close to Bush or for criticizing Bush (I guess you can't win with these Democrats). Steele, on the other hand, keeps talking about the issues and reaching out to all Marylanders. Democrats should focus on running an issues-driven campaign instead of throwing mud. Of course, when the party doesn't stand for anything, I guess that's pretty hard.

Posted by: MK | September 5, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I believe all you anti-American, anti Bush, anti-Iraq, anti Israel, PRO-terrorits rights people, should renounce your citizenship (because you are not acting like Americans anyway) and move to Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria and of course let's not forget North Korea.

Posted by: Lei | September 5, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The press will attempt to beat up on Ehrlich and Steele if they choose to show up for a Bush event or not. As they both should have Southern MD locked up anyway, they can focus their attention elsewhere. Meanwhile, Democrats continue to chase their tails about nothing.

Posted by: BG from PG | September 5, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"Steele, on the other hand, keeps talking about the issues and reaching out to all Marylanders. Democrats should focus on running an issues-driven campaign instead of throwing mud. Of course, when the party doesn't stand for anything, I guess that's pretty hard.'

Talking about the issues? Are you kidding me? He doesn't mention any issues in his television ads. Where is Steele on the important issues that he would face if elected Senator? The War in Iraq (does he supports Bush's stay the course strategy as he told the folks in Frederick?), social security privatization, federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, increasing the minimum wage (without tying it to tax cuts for businesses like other Republicans), Bush's right wing federal court nominees (given that he criticized Senate Democrats for holding up a right wing Bush nominee), Bush's economic policies, health care for the million of working Americans who cannot afford it, etc.?

Steele and the RNC recognize that he can only win this race if he AVOIDS talking about the issues he will confront as a Senator. Marylanders need to know that Steele will be a reliable vote for Bush and the Republicans in the Senate. I see nothing wrong with this approach particularly given that Steele wants to hide this fact from most Maryland voters.
I commend the Democrats for their efforts to educate Maryland voters.

Posted by: Prince Georges Dem | September 5, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

PG Dem-

Lots of lamenting the fact that Steele is a Republican but you still haven't mentioned what the Democrat's plans for leadership are. You would think with less than a week to go before the Democrat's primary, that there would be more discussions on real issues, not just the fact that Ehrlich and Steele missed a Bush event. Now would be the time to discuss the Democrat's plans-not just keeping up with the same old, worn out, knee-jerk, anti-Bush rhetoric.

It seems to me that Democrats have no plans to offer. Talk about educating, why don't you educate me on these plans? As much as you want to believe it will, Bush hatin' on it's own isn't going to put O'Malley in the State House and Cardin in the Senate.

Posted by: BG from PG | September 5, 2006 9:39 PM | Report abuse

For BG from PG:

Real issues? You must be kidding. Steele doesn't talk about issues that he will confront as a US Senator. Did you see his commercial? No substance...just rhetoric. Where is Steele on: the War in Iraq (does he support stay the course?), universal healthcare, increasing the minimum wage (without tax cuts for businesses), social security privatization, a woman's right to choose, federal funding for stem cell research, the Bush budget (which cut funding for important educational and housing programs), Bush's extremely conservative Supreme Court nominees, etc.? He seems to be all over the place on some of these issues (depending on the audience) and silent on others. In contrast, the Democratic frontrunners are on the record (consistently) regarding these issues. They at least mention issues in their television commercials.

Steele recognizes that Bush is a problem for him. Try as you might, you can't discount this fact. Why do you think he trying to distant himself from his "homeboy"? Steele is vulnerable to the Democratic strategy. Steele campaigned for Bush and the Republican congressional agenda in 2004 across the nation and has taken money from Bush fundraisers and Bush's major supporters.

Republicans across the nation recognize the Bush is a liability. Why would Steele and Ehrlich be any different? Bush's approval rating in the state of Maryland is 35%.

There is nothing wrong with telling people where Steele stands on the issues. I know his supporters don't like this. The Republicans are afraid that a campaign based on issues and ideas means that Steele loses. The Democrats can't help the fact that Steele supports the Bush agenda which is opposed by 65% of Maryland voters.

Again, Steele will lose the election because his views on important issues are not widely supported by Maryland voters. Most Marylanders are saavy enough to reject someone who will be reliable vote in the Senate for the Bush/Republican agenda.

Posted by: Prince Georges Dem | September 6, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

lei writes "I believe all you anti-American, anti Bush, anti-Iraq, anti Israel, PRO-terrorits rights people, should renounce your citizenship (because you are not acting like Americans anyway) and move to Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria and of course let's not forget North Korea."
Of course I'm anti-Bush. He consistently mangles or does not know facts that his position requires him to have at his disposal. He does nothing more than spew whatever Karl Rove tells him to say, and he gets that wrong. And while Saddam Hussein was not the American ideal of a leader, sectarian civil war didn't happen on his watch. I'm neither for nor against Israel, but someone needs to explain to me why that nation, which has an excellent and effective secret service, had to kill so many Lebanese civilians in their totally unsuccessful attempt to destroy Hezbollah.
I am acting like an American by exercising free speech and the right to draw my own conclusions--your suggestion that there's something anti-American in this is, in itself, un-American.
If you really believe in Bush's war, go fight it.

Posted by: phdmoco | September 6, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

PG Dem-

I gave you an opportunity to discuss Cardin, Mfume and O'Malley's plans for leadership but again you've proved that there are none. You only insist on injecting the "I hate Bush" sentiment into Steele. This is the only strategy that you and the Democrats of MD have, which won't be enough to persuade voters. When the Democratic machine kicks Mfume to the curb, black voters will take notice. Keep up the good work. You're making it easy for clear thinking people.

Posted by: BG from PG | September 6, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Steele? Oh, yeah. The guy who bad-mouthed Bush off the record, got caught, and continues to take Republican money. He could run as an independent. That seems to be big this year.

Posted by: phdmoco | September 6, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

BG from PG:

You are hilarious...trying to turn the tables. Like I said, Cardin and Mfume's position on the issues are well known. Check their websites. They oppose the War (and have since the beginning), support federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, support small and minority business development, oppose the privatization of social security, support a woman's right to choose, opposed the nomination of Sam Alito the the Supreme Court, support increasing the minimum wage without tying it to business tax cuts, etc.

Steele is running stealth campaign and has changed in position on important issues many times (depending on his audience). What are Steele's positions on: the Bush policy in Iraq (does he support stay the course)? How about social security privatization? The minimum wage increase without tax cuts for businesses? Federal funding of embryonic stem cell research? A woman right to choose even in the case of rape or incest? the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% and the cutting of educational programs that resulted? Bush's right wing federal court nominees? Be prepared to answer these questions if you respond.

Like most Steele supporters, you probably have no idea where he is on many issues.

His sad attempt to capitalize on a potential defeat of Mfume won't go any where. Many Black leaders are already backing Cardin and others have endorsed White candidates over Black candidates in Maryland (case in point, Al Wynn and Jack Johnson supporting Gansler over Simms for attorney general). Sadly while a few African Americans will vote for Steele based solely on his race, it will not be enough for him to win. All the polls show that Cardin will continue to draw the vast majority of African American voters in match up against Steele. Black understand that a vote for Steele is a vote for Bush and the Republican agenda in Congress.

Have a nice day and don't bother responding unless you can answer my question about Steele's positions on the issues I listed above.

Steele will lose because his positions are not in line with MOST Marylanders. Cardin and Mfume oppose the War in Iraq, support a womens right to chose, oppose Bush's reckless tax cuts, have plans for in

Posted by: Prince Georges Dem | September 7, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey BG, are your neighbors talking up Michael Steele the same way that mine are? They see a brand of leadership in him that they've been wanting for a long time.

Posted by: Rufus | September 7, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Re Ehrlich and Steele having Southern Maryland "locked up.": Believe me, if the contest is between Cardin and Steele, a lot of the white folks in Southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore will be pulling the lever for Cardin in the privacy of the voting booth.

And it's difficult to tell why people vote for who they vote for. Barbara Mikulski has always carried the Eastern Shore by healthy margins, despite being a big city, ethnic, female liberal. I asked someone who held elective office on the Shore why this could be so and he said, "They like her down here because she doesn't take any *#@^ off anyone."

Posted by: Jack | September 7, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

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