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O'Malley attack ad on oil draws rebuke from Ehrlich

o'malley-serious.JPGA day after officially filing to seek re-election, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Thursday went on the offensive. He criticized his likely Republican challenger, Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. on transportation issues and launched an attack ad seeking to portray Ehrlich as an agent of Big Oil and linking him to the disaster in the Gulf.

Ehrlich blasted the ad as intentionally misleading and his campaign called for an apology from O'Malley and sent a text message to supporters urging them to call the governor's office to demand that the radio ad be pulled from the airwaves.

At appearances in Montgomery County, O'Malley forcefully condemned his predecessor on transit and development. He said Ehrlich's opposition to the controversial east-west "purple" rail line would destroy growth and kill jobs in Washington's Maryland suburbs.

Minutes after he left an impromptu news conference at Montgomery College, O'Malley escalated the offensive significantly. His campaign released a radio attack ad that incorrectly labels Ehrlich a "Big Oil lobbyist," and takes liberties with Ehrlich's Congressional voting record on oil drilling in the Gulf.








The ad relies primarily on an apparent radio clip of Ehrlich discussing the Republican Party leader's 2008 election-year refrain of "drill baby drill." It repeats the line seven times between the voice of a female narrator, who begins by saying: "as oil coats the Gulf Coast, that's the voice of Big Oil lobbyist Bob Ehrlich."

Ehrlich campaign spokesman Andy Barth said O'Malley should apologize for a "dishonest, deceitful and knowingly misleading" ad.

Ehrlich hand.jpgIn a statement, Ehrlich called it contemptible. "Martin O'Malley has placed an advertisement on the radio which is so clearly false and transparently dishonest that it debases the office we both seek. The ad shows not just a disregard for the truth, but a calculated intent to deceive the voters of Maryland; it is contemptible.

"To suggest that I somehow favored or caused the Gulf oil disaster and now call for more coastal drilling is untrue, and Martin O'Malley knows it."

After he lost to O'Malley in 2006, Ehrlich helped open and helped lead a Baltimore office for the North Carolina-based law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. Several of his former administration aides hold jobs there, too.

The firm touts Ehrlich and his former aides as a team that can "help clients get results in complex state and federal procurement and appropriations processes," but since leaving office, Ehrlich has never registered in Maryland or with the federal government as a lobbyist.

David Hamilton, managing partner of Womble's Baltimore office, said no one working in the Baltimore office has been registered as a lobbyist since the branch opened in 2007. "Nobody in Baltimore does any lobbying. We have lobbyists who are registered in North Carolina .. and we have lobbyists who work with the federal government in Washington, but none in Baltimore," he said. "And Bob Ehrlich has had nothing to do with Exxon, CitGo or Shell."

According to readily available public court documents, the firm has represented Exxon Mobile, CitGo and Shell, but attorneys from North Carolina have most often represented those clients.

In a statement announcing the ad, O'Malley campaign manager Tom Russell said it "uses Bob Ehrlich's own words and failed record to expose Bob Ehrlich's support of Big Oil and his efforts to put special interests before Maryland families."

The ad also alleges that "when 80,000 gallons of oil spilled in South Baltimore, Bob Ehrlich was the lobbyist representing the oil company." Hamilton confirmed that a Baltimore-based Womble attorney represented Apex Oil after a pipeline burst in South Baltimore in 2008, but he said "Ehrlich had nothing to do with it. Another lawyer brought that case from another firm."

The ad also links Ehrlich's voting in Congress, prior to taking office as governor in 2003, to oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

"When they wanted to open new parts of the Gulf for drilling, Ehrlich voted with Big Oil again," the narrator says halfway through the ad. That line appears to refer to a 2001 measure allowing limited exploration that garnered bipartisan support in the House of Representatives.

The ad, which Russell said would begin airing on Friday in Baltimore and on the Eastern shore as "thousands of Marylanders travel to the beach this weekend," is partially a remix of a YouTube video published last month by the Maryland Democratic Party.

Ehrlich's campaign sent a text message to supporters on Thursday night with the subject line: "We need your help!"

"Call Governor O'Malley and tell him to pull his dishonest ads about Bob Ehrlich." The text message listed the main number to the governor's office in Annapolis.


The full text of the ad (Ehrlich's voice in quotes):

"Drill baby drill"

Narrator: As oil coats the Gulf Coast, that's the voice of Big Oil lobbyist Bob Ehrlich.

"Drill baby drill"

Fifty thousand barrels per day; the worst environmental disaster in American history. And still:

"Drill baby drill"

When Big Oil wanted to avoid paying millions in royalties for drilling rights, Bob Ehrlich voted yes.

"Drill baby drill"

When they wanted to open new parts of the Gulf for drilling, Ehrlich voted with Big Oil again.

"Drill baby drill"

And when 80,000 gallons of oil spilled in South Baltimore, Bob Ehrlich was the lobbyist representing the oil company.

"Drill baby drill"

So why would Bob Ehrlich side with Big Oil? Before Maryland families?

"Life's good. We made money; a lot of money"

Ehrlich's lobbying firm represents Citgo, Exxon Mobile and Shell Oil.

"A lot of money."

So, don't take our word for it.

"Drill baby drill"

Listen to Bob Ehrlich, the lobbyist, in his own words

"We made money, a lot of money."

Paid for by Friends of Martin O'Malley, M. Cadogan, treasurer.

By Aaron C. Davis  |  June 17, 2010; 6:50 PM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis  
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Comments

Anyone who makes fun of Marty, is going to have the *$%@ beat out of him. Have you seen Marty's guns lately--he's huge!

Posted by: island1 | June 17, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Mr. O'Malley is a moron.

Posted by: Nukolas | June 18, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Let's get pass the fact that the information in the commercial is a bunch of flat out lies - But come on, this is extrememly poor taste for the Governor's campaign manager "Russell" and his entire team to "exploit" the enormous problems facing the families in the gulf region for political gain; to exploit the loss of lives - Campaign spin is one thing; lying is another - but can you say "lower than a snakes belly"? Outrageous! If a national news media were to get wind of this commercial, CNN, FOX, etc., the state of Maryland will be embarassed in front of the world.

Posted by: EIEAR | June 18, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

What a sad and distasteful ad. O'Malley lied about BGE in 2006 to get elected, he's lying again in 2010 to get elected. This bottle of wine has not aged well... Let's get Maryland back to a 2-party system of government.

Posted by: Jefferson5 | June 19, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Bob Ehrlich is a MORON! True Marylanders do NOT want racist, corrupt, Nazi Republicans in our state or govenor's office.

Posted by: gr8bigguy | June 21, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

That's why nobody reads the post. They take the time to print O'maley ads and help him out, and the usual liberal comments of slow headed liberals on the message board. Nazis and racist. I don't thinks it the Republican's putting 50 million baby's to death since roe v wade. That's liberals and that seems more like nazi's. But don't let facts get in the way of an uneducated mind keep race baiting brother, that ALL you know.

Posted by: WatchingThem | June 22, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Bob Ehrlich is a MORON! True Marylanders do NOT want racist, corrupt, Nazi Republicans in our state or govenor's office.

Posted by: gr8bigguy | June 21, 2010 12:23 PM

"Dumbest post of the day award!!!!"
_______________________________________


Big surprise, Owe Malley can't run on his record, so he's bashing Erlich right out of the gate. Marty boy hopes no one remembers about the BG&E rate hike he promised he would fight. MOM is running business out of the state, raising sales tax, and letting BG&E screw every ratepayer in the state.

As Marty says "What's in your wallet?"

Posted by: Yeahright2 | June 22, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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