O'Malley Announces Foreclosure Ad Campaign
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) announced the kickoff of $400,000 advertising blitz today that seeks to make the increased ranks of Maryland homeowners at risk of foreclosure aware of resources that could help them.
In coming weeks, radio spots are scheduled to air in both the Washington and Baltimore regions. Ads with the slogan "Mortgage Late? Don't Wait" are slated to appear inside and outside of buses and light-rail cars, in newspapers and on billboards. And the state has already mailed out 680,000 postcards to residents in zip codes with high rates of foreclosures.
O'Malley announced the launch of the ad campaign at a news conference in Baltimore at which he stood in front of a Maryland Transit Administration bus featuring with a foreclosure ad on its side.
A relatively small picture of O'Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) and two other state officials appear in the lower right corner of the ad, which is 2-1/2 feet tall by 12 feet wide and includes a more dominant photograph of a home facade.
The image of O'Malley and Brown, and the fact that O'Malley's voice is heard at the end of the radio spots, drew some flak yesterday from Repbublican lawmakers. Democrats harshly criticized O'Malley's Republican predecessor, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), for appearing in state-financed ad campaigns, some including television spots, promoting tourism, affordable housing, E-ZPass and other initiatives.
Senate Minority Leader David R. Brinkley (R-Frederick) said Democrats are applying a double standard.
"It's certainly a subtle form of campaigning for re-election," Brinkley said of the O'Malley ads. "When a Republican does it, it's problematic. When a Democrat does it, it's public service. That's ludicrous."
In a one-minute version of the radio ad, listeners do not hear O'Malley until the final 10 seconds. He says: "This is Gov. Martin O'Malley. If your mortgage is late, don't wait. If you're facing the possibility of foreclosure, call 877-462-7555 for help."
Ehrlch was the central character in several of his television ads, including oe 30-second tourism spot in which he played a chipper beach hotel clerk advising a family of vacationers to leave their homes early to avoid peak traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said the Ehrlich and O'Malley ads were not at all comparable.
"This is an effort to educate the public," Abbruzzese said. "There's a marked difference in the tone and the substance."
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