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Baltimore Bashing


So much for those state tourism ads luring people to Baltimore's Inner Harbor and other attractions.

The latest television commercial, launched yesterday by the Republican Governors Association, portrays Baltimore in a 30-second tableau of urban decay that declares Maryland's largest municipality "the most dangerous city in America."

The ad, the first the group has aired in the state, features footage of a cemetery and a crime scene. The camera bounces erratically as the images lose and regain focus. The schools are in shambles, a female voice says, and the homicide rate is six times higher than New York City's.

"Baltimore," the voice says, "Martin O'Malley's legacy of mismanagement. And now he wants a promotion, so he can do for the entire state of Maryland what he did for Baltimore."

The O'Malley campaign was quick to condemn the ad, which they said perpetuated stereotypes about a city they said Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) is "essentially disowning."

"It's essentially unheard of for a governor to allow an outside group to attack the biggest city in his state," said Hari Sevugan, an O'Malley spokesman.

Ehrlich spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver declined to comment on whether the campaign has misgivings about Baltimore being portrayed in such a light by an ally. The ad, she said, "isn't about Baltimore, it's about Martin O'Malley failure of leadership of Baltimore."

The governors association is barred from coordinating its activities with the campaign.

"The intent of this advertisement is not to trash Baltimore," said Phil Musser, the association's executive director. "The intent is to point out what's clearly a lackluster record."

Yesterday, Democrats pointed out that the Republican group received a $100,000 contribution Sept. 29 from a prominent Maryland developer and Ehrlich supporter, Kingdon Gould.

Gould, developer of the Konterra project in Prince George's County, has contributed $50,000 to Ehrlich through various companies since 1999. (Incidentially, the RGA contribution was recorded three days after a Post story detailing his earlier donations was published. ) Gould was traveling and did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Eric Rich

By Phyllis Jordan  |  October 21, 2006; 10:25 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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