Ehrlich: 'Not much happened' in Annapolis this year
Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) criticized Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) less on Tuesday for what O'Malley did during the just-completed legislative session than for what he and Democratic lawmakers didn't do.
"I don't think much of anything happened in Annapolis this session," said Ehrlich, who summoned reporters to Baltimore to offer his thoughts on the 90 days, which he characterized as "kicking the can down the proverbial alley, waiting for the next session, waiting for the monumental tax increase everyone knows is coming." (O'Malley has said he has no intention of raising taxes but has not ruled out the possibility).
Asked by a reporter about a package of sex offender bills that passed, Ehrlich acknowledged the importance of the legislation but said: "That really shouldn't have been heavy lifting." The fact that the bills passed so late in the session was "embarrassing to a lot of us," he added.
Ehrlich fielded questions for about 13 minutes from the lobby of the downtown Baltimore building where his law office is located. For the most part, his criticism of O'Malley came in broad strokes -- alleging that the governor has not been on the side of small businesses, for example -- or was aimed at past actions. Ehrlich continued to press his plan to roll back an increase in the sales tax that lawmakers passed in 2007, O'Malley's first year in office.
Ehrlich also took issue with O'Malley's claims of bipartisan cooperation during the session and suggested that his characterizations of progress rang hollow.
"Some of those lines sound real good when you say them fast," Ehrlich said, adding that there was "not a lot of action."
Ehrlich also bantered with reporters about his choice of a press secretary, Andy Barth, a former television reporter and a Democrat. And when asked, Ehrlich repeated his pledge that he won't talk about fundraising in any detail, allowing only that it has really picked up since last week. That's when Ehrlich announced his candidacy.
April 13, 2010; 4:35 PM ET
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