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Wooing the Black Vote


With three weeks until election day, Maryland candidates are drawing on some high-profile names in a bid to draw support from African-American voters, a key voting bloc.

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, the Democratic challenger for governor, has a new radio ad featuring basketball legend and entrepreneur Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who highlights the mayor's commitment to minority businesses.

"Maryland, it's time for a governor on your side," Johnson, who owns several businesses in Maryland, says in the ad, which is airing in the Washington and Baltimore markets.

In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic Rep. Ben Cardin showed up in Prince George's County on Sunday with the once and possibly future presidential candidate John Kerry and will appear Thursday with former president Bill Clinton (who's also headlining a fundraiser for O'Malley).

On the Republican side, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has turned to more of an every man in his new new television spot. The 30-second ad features Larry Gaines, who is identified as a "parent advocate," declaring that O'Malley "has failed our children" because of problems with crime and gangs in Baltimore.

But his lieutenant govenor, Michael Steele, yesterday took the opposite tack yesterday appearing with one of the more flamboyant Republicans around.

Boxing promoter Don King, who calls himself a "Republicrat", brought his flag-waving, rhinestone-wearing, Bible-quoting flair to Steele's campaign, imploring black voters in particular, to act as "apostles" in turning out next month for the African American candidate.

King, with his trademark shock of unruly gray hair, stood arm in arm with the lieutenant governor before a friendly audience at a Largo café before heading to Baltimore. He urged voters in the overwhelmingly Democratic state to ignore party labels.

"We're talking about Maryland. We're not talking about Democrats or Republicans," said King, who teamed up with Steele in 2004 to campaign for President Bush.

On one front, he perhaps delivered the wrong message. King unabashedly professed his love for President Bush for putting blacks in prominent positions in his administration.

Throughout the campaign, Cardin has tried to use Steele's connections to the unpopular president against him.

When asked whether he shared King's love for Bush, Steele turned to the Bible: "My mother taught me as a young boy to love my neighbor as myself."

Matt Mosk and Ann Marimow

By Phyllis Jordan  |  October 17, 2006; 6:36 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Next: "Slavishly" Remark Stirs Steele


So O'Malley wants to use Magic Johnson to play the race card while the rest of the Dems cry (boo hoo, boo hoo) if Michael Steele mentions that he's Black.

Posted by: Rufus | October 17, 2006 7:35 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post loves to play racial politics. Where is the mention that Maryland's two U.S. Senators have lived in Baltimore City since l987? Why six more years? Ben Cardin has lived in Baltimore City all his life and has always given Baltimore preference over the rest of the state. Would he change at age 60+? Who would give more preference to getting METRO money? A Baltimore guy or a P.G. guy?
And the Post is playing the race card in the Montgomery County Executive contest as well. What has Leggett done to deserve this job? Why no mention that county workers lost to him twice in l992? Once when they paid his $l,000,000 in legal fees for the sex harassment case against him and again when county workers were laid off for four days without pay to save $3 million in tight budget times? Why no mention of his votes to give away Belt Jr. High over community opposition to Jack Abramoff, now a convicted felon? Why has the paper all of a sudden given up on the topic of develooper contributions? I have never taken one penny from developers. Leggett has taken at least a couple of hundred thousand dollars from them in this campaign. He's taken at least one thousand dollars from each of 44 developers and $20 thousand from the developers of Crown Farm, which will be almost as dense as NYC. And he called for a Moratorium before the East Silver Spring Citizens Association, "five minutes after I take office as county executive." That's a funny thing to say to your friends! It's just October l7 and I have the funny feeling that you are done writing about this race till November 8.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Independent for Montgomery County Executive | October 17, 2006 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Robin I look at this blog usually everyday but rarely post anything. It seems to me all you do is complain about what others are doing. If you are a real candidate (which you are not) you wouldnt have the time to write on this blog. So please stop it is very annoying!

Posted by: Robin go campaign | October 17, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I believe that Robin's comments in regards to Cardin's Baltimore City focus are quite relevant to this discussion.

Now little pe-pe should be along to suggest that I really am Robin. And perhaps che will stop by with some links from the paranoid leftist fringe.

Posted by: Rufus | October 17, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I hate when the Republican party tries to appeal to me as a Jew by saying they will better "protect" Israel. It seems so cynical and plays to stereotypes. Jewish voters in general care about civil rights,liberal and anti-poverty causes, Darfur, and are frequently anti-war, etc. While I care about Israel, I'm an American who cares about all of the political landscape and I'm offended when the Republican party tries to single issue and pigeonhole me. I'm curious if MD Black voters feel the same way about Republican Steele's recent appeal to black voters based solely on his race. I'm sure Black voters care deeply about many more issues than just the candidate's skin color. In both cases, the Republican party wants to single-issue us into ignoring all their other flaws and wrong sidedness on the important issues of the day.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

So anonymous, do you like it when the Democrats single out Israel for criticism and lend moral support to Israel's enemies?

Posted by: Rufus | October 17, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

This entry could have also mentioned that Senator Barack Obama was in MD last week campaigning with Cardin.

Something tells me that Obama's endorsement far outweighs Don King's.

Posted by: corbett | October 17, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Hey Rufus...what comes first? Israel or America? True blue Americans will always put America's interest before israel

Posted by: Bruce C | October 17, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Obama was here a couple of weeks ago, but you're right about his support being more sought-after. Same goes for Bill Clinton, who I believe will be hitting the state soon.

And Montgomery and Prince George's voters are likely to vote based on their candidates' issue positions rather than their address or skin pigmentation.

Posted by: MHK919 | October 17, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Actually Rufus,I'm okay with some Democrats criticizing Israel just like they would criticize any other Democracy. I don't think you "aid Israel's enemies" just by criticizing some its policies. Nor do I think you aid America's enemies by criticizing some of our policies. I look at Israel, England, and our other close allies as family. You don't always like exactly what they do all the time and sometimes you even criticize them, but you still always love them.

Back on MD and Steele's latest commerical where he said Rep. Cardin can't change Washington because he's been there. Its Republican dominated Washington that we want to change and the Republican party control of all three branches of federal government. Electing Rep. Cardin can help us with that, voting for Mr. Steele can't.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2006 12:52 PM | Report abuse

When has Ben Cardin ever taken any position that favors the Washington D.C. area over Baltimore?

Posted by: Moco voter | October 17, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Would a Ravens fan even favor the Redskins over the Ravens?

Posted by: Baltimoron | October 17, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bruce, America does not live in a vacuum! This means such questions are not a simple Either/Or question.

However, for Democrats, it appears to be that simple and they caterwaul at anyone who dares resist jihad.

Posted by: Rufus | October 17, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"Its Republican dominated Washington that we want to change and the Republican party control of all three branches of federal government."

I might agree with you if I were stuck with such a limited "Democrats good, Republicans bad" outlook on the whole process.

Not being limited in this way, I instead choose to look at the character and the intellect of each candidate. Michael Steele is clearly the superior man on both counts.

Posted by: Rufus | October 17, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Not being limited in this way, I instead choose to look at the character and the intellect of each candidate. Michael Steele is clearly the superior man on both counts."

ROFL LMAO. I almost hacked up a lung I was laughing so hard at that one.

Posted by: What.... | October 17, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Rufus, you do have one thing going for you. You're always there when I need a good laugh.

Posted by: What... | October 17, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"Its Republican dominated Washington that we want to change and the Republican party control of all three branches of federal government."

...and I guess that Democratic control of all branches of State government is acceptable though, right?

Posted by: BG from PG | October 17, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

So far this election season, this is what I've learned about Steele:

From his commercials - he likes puppies and dislikes special interest groups (interest groups that actually have given him tons of money)

From his appearances - he thinks stem cell research is comparable to nazi war crimes

Yeah, sounds like someone I should vote for. You know what, the guy isn't nearly as polished as he's made out to be. And the country can watch as he puts his foot in his mouth again on Meet the Press in a week and a half.

Posted by: corbett | October 17, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Here is what I've learned about Cardin:
l. He thinks Steele is linked to Bush.
2. His ads say nothing about what he has been doing for 40 years.
Therefore, I have to conclude that this guy is a poster child for term limits.

Posted by: election voter | October 17, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey Rufus...I asked you one simple question, who comes first to you, Israel or America? You couldn't even answer that, so we know what you truely think. So please stop criticizing democrats, because most of they are and will be more 'american' then you will ever be in your life. It's shameful for an american to put another foreign nation before his own country.

Posted by: Bruce C | October 17, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley is not running against Steele. Some of the readers appear confused on that point. The stronger person on that ticket was Michael Steele several years ago. I know many African American life long Democrats who are not only voting for Steele but campaigning for him. This is a tough issue. This is not Condi or some overly conservative nut job like Watts who appears to be going along to getting along. He is charismatic. But we need the senate, and African Americans will be better served by getting the Republicans out of office. Bill Maher made a joke, the Republican should treat the Christian conservative like the Democrats treat blacks you do not have anywhere else to go. At least one thing is shown, there is some place to go, pay attention to the concerns of these voters. Blacks are conservative on family values isssues but prefer not to legislate on morality (MLK). Blacks are progressive on civil rights but surprising conservative on immigration issues.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

It'll be interesting to see if the GOP brainwash program will work in Md. Find a guy (Steele) that appeals to a critical group of voters, says all the right things, and does everything to distance himself from his own party. Of course with no intent or possibility whatsoever to actually come true on any of it. Wait a second this sounds just like the last presidential election....

Posted by: MP | October 17, 2006 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"I asked you one simple question, who comes first to you, Israel or America? You couldn't even answer that, so we know what you truely think."

Hey Bruce C, sorry that my answer was too complex for you to grasp but I really tried to make it simple enough that even a Leftist could understand it. I can only dumb down so far.

And it's spelled "truly" by the way.

Posted by: Rufus | October 18, 2006 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Ok, whoever asked the question of what Ben Cardin has done for the Washington area, needs to go back and take to high school for a civics lesson. Cardin represented the 3rd Congressional District, not the 4th, 5th or 8th, his constituenets were in the Baltimore area, not the Washington suburbs, but if you talk to his colleagues that do serve those districts, they would tell you that Ben Cardin has always been there to help in anyway he can. Even if you talk to the Connie Morella, the Republican that represented the 8th for most of Cardin's Congressional career, she's tell you that she had a good working partner in Ben Cardin.

Posted by: RCD | October 18, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"...The stronger person on that ticket was Michael Steele several years ago..."

I don't think a lot of Gov. Fratboy, but that's not true either electorally or from a public service perspective.

Electorally, Steele didn't deliver. KKT still won the traditionally Dem areas by large margins similar to those of Glendening's two victories. Bobby won the Baltimore suburbs by record margins and, therefore, won the election.

In office, Steele has been given little to do and has delivered nothing that anyone can name.

Posted by: howie | October 19, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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