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Ehrlich Promises Strong Md. Support for McCain

Sen. John McCain picked up an enthusiastic endorsement from former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. last night, speaking before some 300 Republicans in Ehrlich's home town of Arbutus, a suburb of Baltimore.

Ehrlich's endorsement came a few hours after McCain became the clear frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination as McCain's chief rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, announced he was suspending his campaign.

Ehrlich and McCain embraced on stage at the annual Lincoln/Reagan Dinner at an American Legion hall in Baltimore County, always a key swing jurisdiction in Maryland elections. Ehrlich described McCain as "a true patriot, a war hero, a budget hawk, a pork buster, a tax-cutter [and] a straight-talker."

"We must secure our future," Ehrlich said. "We must stand up for taxpayers, particularly in Maryland, I might add."

Ehrlich initially backed Rudy Giuliani and served as the former New York mayor's mid-Atlantic campaign chairman. He said he came around to McCain after concluding that McCain would be the most competitive Republican nominee in the general election.

McCain delivered a version of his stump speech, focusing on fighting terrorism and cutting government spending, and later shook hands and signed autographs.

Addressing reporters, McCain said he would fight to win Maryland in the general election.

"I promise you as the nominee of the Republican Party I will compete in Maryland," McCain said, standing next to Ehrlich, who was the state's first Republican governor in 36 years. "This guy proved that [a Republican] can win a statewide race in the state of Maryland. I'll compete."

Ehrlich said he would help McCain raise money in Maryland, but did not know whether he would take on an official role in the campaign as he did in Giuliani's campaign. Ehrlich did not answer a reporter's question about whether he would accept a role in a McCain administration.

Ehrlich said he decided to endorse McCain only after speaking with Giuliani, who endorsed McCain when he dropped out. Ehrlich said he considers Romney a personal friend, which is why he waited so long to endorse McCain.

"As chairman of the Republican Governor's Association, [Romney] was always here for us," Ehrlich said. "And his friendship means something to me, and so a lot of factors came together and we thought it was the right time, particularly fortuitously, having Senator McCain come here to Arbutus tonight. It just made a lot of sense."

Earlier in the evening, McCain visited Ehrlich's parents at his boyhood home on Delores Avenue in Arbutus.
McCain described Ehrlich's father, who was a Marine in the Korean War, as a "great American success story."
"I'm proud to know Bob and even prouder, frankly, to know his dad."

McCain also complimented Ehrlich's wife, Kendel, for her political savvy. He called her "the brains of the outfit."

-- Philip Rucker

By Philip Rucker  |  February 8, 2008; 10:08 AM ET
 
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Comments

If Romney hadn't dropped out earlier in the day, would not Erlich have endorsed Romney who was scheduled to speak at the same dinner that night until Romney dropped out? 7 hour flip-flop?

Posted by: ? | February 8, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Elrlich jr is obviously a big amnesty man, that is why they have so many in MD, so I'm sure he's happy for Mccain. It is funny that he said in his speach"standing up for tax payer", when he forces the states taxpayers to foot the bill for the illegals. He's is another politicians that puts big business and special ahead of the citizens.

Posted by: howard | February 8, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

We can only hope that Erlich brings the same magic to the McCain campaign that worked so well for Mayor Giuliani (and his own campaign for that matter.)

Stink follows the dead fish.

Posted by: PG'er | February 8, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I hope McCain will do for the country what Bob Ehrlich did for MD. It's too bad the citizens forgot about it at election time. But, thanks to Omalleys taxes, we remember him now. We sure need him.

Posted by: Jack | February 8, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

If you want to make the right decision, find out O'Malley's view on the subject and do the exact opposite. The same goes with picking a candidate.

Posted by: Roger T. | February 8, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Bush must have pulled up his zipper if ehrlich is speaking, right Mr. Monica Ehrlich. Crawl back under bushies balls and get back to work.
What Maryland company wanted YOU after you were Gov. ZERO - NOBODY...You had to go out of state to get a job.

Posted by: 1-20-09 | February 8, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

McCain is the best candidate given the choice between yet another Clinton (need I say more?) and Obama, a man with no credibility. Out of all the candidate, McCain is the only one that has been consistent on the issues. I'm not buying the Obama "hindsight is 20/20" anti-war position. If he were in the Senate at the time votes were cast, he may have actually had to make a decision on the issue-unless he wanted to simply vote "present" as he did in so many cases in Illinois.

Posted by: Ron B. | February 9, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

1-20-09, Governor ZERO actually came 3 percentage points from having a second term. In 2010, O'Malley won't be able to ride a wave of blind anti-Bushism to a second term. With the bang-up job O'Malley's doing now, "Governor ZERO" stands a real good chance of coming back again in 2010. In fact, the wave of anti-O'Malleyism might even reverberate well beyond the Governor's mansion.

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