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O'Malley admits 'tactical mistake' in negative oil ad

Aaron C. Davis

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said Thursday that his campaign made a "tactical mistake" last month by producing a negative radio ad that linked former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to the gulf oil disaster.

The ad, titled "Drill baby, drill," was the first in a series that O'Malley has launched since mid-June portraying Ehrlich as an agent for big oil, big tobacco, Wall Street and other special interests.

O'Malley's underlying accusation in the ads is that Ehrlich's work for a law firm for the past four years has amounted to little more than unregistered lobbying. Ehrlich has called the charge "contemptible."

In the first ad, O'Malley also vaguely referenced a bipartisan vote Ehrlich took on a budget measure in Congress before becoming governor as evidence that Ehrlich was siding with big oil -- and by extension, somewhat culpable in the ongoing spill. The 2001 measure, which allowed for limited exploration, was supported by all of Maryland's Democratic representatives as well.

"When they wanted to open new parts of the gulf for drilling, Ehrlich voted with big oil again," a narrator says halfway through the ad.

On WTOP's "Ask The Governor" program, O'Malley told host Mark Segraves that he continues to believe that Ehrlich's work as a government affairs specialist boils down to an effort to cash in on relationships he made as governor, and previously, as a congressman.

But he said that "Drill, baby drill" should not have mentioned the oil spill in the gulf "because it allowed the former governor to claim that we were making claims that he was associated with BP, which we never have."

O'Malley did not back away from any of the remaining claims in the ads, which have been dissected in the news pages of The Post and other publications, and criticized by several pundits and editorial boards, including The Post's.

The governor made clear that he intends to continue to make Ehrlich's work for the past four years a campaign theme.

"We never accused him of being a registered lobbyist; what we accused him of was being a lobbyist," O'Malley said. "I think he has an obligation when he runs for office to disclose which interests he's been paid well to represent these last four years so voters can make an informed decision."

By Aaron C. Davis  |  July 15, 2010; 12:04 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections  
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O'Malley should disclose what he has been doing in the last four years as well. Campaigning !! Touting falsehoods about fiscal responsibility and budget cuts when the only thing cut was state employee pay.

Posted by: tobmore | July 15, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley has done a fine job as governor and I will be sure to vote for him again.
I can still remember the horrible job ehrlich did, including using state police to infiltrate poety readings, busing in homeless people from Philly to illegally work at the polls on election day, sending out campaign flyers claiming ehrlich and steele were democrats etc.
While I enjoy the opportunity to make fun of Mcdonnell and Cuccinelli for every mistep they make here in the Post's comments sections, I would hate to have a republican in charge of Maryland doing the same nonsense.

Ehrlich lost last time for a good reason.

Posted by: MarilynManson | July 15, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

@MM, it seems to me that you are rehashing and have posted the same negative comments before regarding Ehrlich. If you are not on O'malley's payroll, then you can certainly post on O'Malley's flaws as well. You know, make it unbiased and fair, just a thought.

Posted by: netbeagle | July 15, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

When is O'Malley going to explain the BP oil campaign dollars he solicited personally and on behalf of the DGA? And why has the media not asked a single question?

Posted by: chesapeaketerp | July 15, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

When will Martin O'Malley answer for the BP campaign cash that he solicited? Bob Ehrlich never took a dime of BP's money, but Martin O'Malley has. When will the media ask the tough questions?

Posted by: chesapeaketerp | July 15, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Bob Ehrlich had only 2 decent years of governance after a very rocky start. Martin started strong and stayed stronger, without Ehrlich's ethical problems.
It's a no-brainer.

Posted by: krickey7 | July 15, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to seee who O'Malley's clients will be next year.

If his loyal puppies serve as any guide, his clients will be the energy and gambling interests who have proved to be giant cash cows for his corner boys.

Posted by: tcs1999 | July 15, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

to chesapeaketerp : You wont see that happen in this newspapaer. I am surprised that this story even got written.

How about the O'Malley's underage Daughter passes out DRUNK in the the inner harbor and gets taken by ambulance to hospital for alcohol posioning and the story was buried on the 4th page of the metro section.

Nice Parenting Marty and Katie. I sure Grandad Joe Curran was oh so proud.

By the way no citations were issued to her either.

Its clear that Ehrlich is a much better candidate but in a state that is 2/3 democrat with a huge voting block in Montgomery County and Baltimore its really a no win for Ehrlich.

The only way he has a chance is if it rains on election day in Baltimore City. Really.

Good luck.

Posted by: intheknowforyou | July 15, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Bob Ehrlich will win this election. Just wait and see!

Posted by: FiatBooks | July 15, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

While BP is responsible for this problem, there is another, earlier level of fault.
It is the greenies who forced the oil companies into deep water.

After all, the oil companies busy is obtaining oil. If you force them to only drill on other planets, they'd be busy building rockets, etc., to deal with the moon.

What did you expect?

Posted by: gofigure | July 15, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley fess' up you drove the state deeper into debt and crime then Ehrlich ever could and you accepted donation money from BP despite your claim that Ehrlich did, which turns out to be a lie. I would rather have the secret police infiltrating these so called peace groups, just ask residents in Toronto and D.C. recently exposed to these vandalism and crime prone groups how much fun they are. Go save the whales but do it far away from the people on the ocean where the possibility of sinking is always there.

Posted by: zcxnissan | July 15, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

this is about two miserable candidates and which one is the lesser evil. I'm a Republican and I do not want Bob back. Let's stop recycling and start working on a good team for next round. Horrible to see 100 yr old Audrey Scott back - give me a break this is the best we can do. Nice to see some new Republican blood in some local elections. I live in PG and I'm not even going to bother to vote.
We are going to end up with crap anyway.

Posted by: agwilson1399 | July 15, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

about the ONLY thing Erlich did while he was in office was raise the fees at all the tunnels and bridges in maryland...

and support slot machine gambling... to fund education? yea ... funny how we teach our young ones probability and statistics... how the house has the advantage mathematically...

and psychology in high school ... operant conditioning... the most powerful tools to create a gambling addict...

it seems that bob didn't learn much at gilman and princeton... did he?

maybe he should ask for his money back.

Posted by: FranknErnest | July 15, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

erlich created that fool michael steele...

erlich-steele remember ? dumb and dumber...

now erlich ditched steele for another woman.

Posted by: FranknErnest | July 15, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley is a do-nothing. How many years has it been since the electorate approved slots, and neither O'Malley nor the MD General Asylum has been able to get off of their collective backsides and produce?

Throw ALL of them out in November.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | July 15, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

I'll NEVER vote O'Malley. That's the same as voting Obama. Obama has broken America with incredible DEBT, the greatest DEBT in the History of the USA and the World too!

Maryland pridefully displays its high quality (but, deteriorating since O'Malley spent the Rainy Day Fund for his pet PORK PROJECTS) BOND RATING status BUT even though it is one of the best of all the States, that's not saying much since even Maryland is having to run in Austerity Status due to O'Malley SPENDING WASTE.

Since O'Malley has made Maryland a SANCTUARY STATE for ILLEGAL ALIENS, which cost the TAXPAYERS of Maryland HUNDREDS of MILLIONS OF DOLLARS spent on people from FOREIGN COUNTRIES and takes that money away from MARYLAND'S CHILDREN.

Posted by: ISlamIslam | July 16, 2010 5:37 AM | Report abuse


I will keep rehashing erhlichs misdeeds until he comes clean about them and offers an apology and an explaination.

to this date, I have not heard a single word from him about how/why anti-death penalty groups were infiltrated by state police when he was governor and who ordered it and if he knew about it.

Nor have I heard anything from him about the false campaign flyers his campaign handed out saying he was a democrat.

Nor has he appoligised for busing in homeless people to illegally work the polls on election day.

O'Malley is more then willing to speak about any actions he or his campaign takes (hence the basis for this article). its past time for ehrlich to man up and explain himself.

Posted by: MarilynManson | July 16, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Do we have any other choices than these two?

Posted by: ceebee2 | July 16, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

MarilynManson, you've been at the "Dope Show" too long.

Ehrlich's biggest misdeed was being a Republican in 2006. The climate has since changed however, thanks to Pelosi, Reid and Obama. 2010 is a different story.

Personally, I think of O'Malley at every point of sale where I'm now paying 6% sales tax and again every month when I open my through the roof BGE bill. (Remember the BGE problem that was O'Malley's mantra?? Apparently he doesn't.)

We've still got a deficit despite a tax increase and businesses don't want to come to Maryland. But at least we've got a musician from one hell of a Celtic band in the Governor's mansion.

Posted by: Digitalman08 | July 16, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

How laughable it is that O'Malley is already resorting to attack ads in June and July! That is the sign of a desperate politician who knows his campaign is already in the dumper.

O'Malley -- criminal friendly (tried desperately to eliinate the death penalty), illegal alien friendly (here, have a driver's license!), tax friendly (ya like the 6% sales tax??), business UN-friendly (tax environment)... Biggest PHONY in politics, and believe me, that's saying something! He cares NOTHING of the citizens of MD. He just wants to be Vice President of the USA, or at LEAST a Senator) one day. He bought that Hillary Clinton lottery ticket and it didn't work out. Aw, too bad.

As for the sleazy attack ads, what's cheaper than taking sound bites out of context? Nothing I can think of! What a slimy thing to do. What man of INTEGRITY would authorize such a practice? Associating Ehrlich with the Gulf oil spill? HA!! Nice try. Absurd, and everyone knows it, but nice try. Also, calling Ehrlich a "lobbyist" was a swing and a miss. One must REGISTER to be a lobbyist. And even though "lobbyist" has a negative connotation, it should be pointed out that O'Malley's beloved Labor Unions have lobbyists themselves! And so does virtually every industry on the planet. I guess STUPID people think a lobbyist is some sort of criminal who somehow corrupts the democratic process. Way to be deliberately misleading, Marty.

I'd respect O'Malley more if he ran ads spelling out, in specific terms, what he intends to offer the state. And I don't mean more LIES about reducing our BGE bills. Telling lies, playing false sound clips, and making misleading statements about your competition tells us NOTHING about YOU -- except that you are a sleazebag willing to lie, cheat, or do whatever it takes to convince enough STUPID people to elect you.

Last election, the Washington Post brought both candidates in for a talk and chose Bob Ehrlich. They met the candidates, spoke of the ISSUES, and made a choice. The Baltimore Slumpapers rubber stamped O'Malley. In the end, the voters desperate to punish George Bush (who last time I checked wasn't running for Governor of MD)voted in O'Malley. In a sneaky middle of the night session, a 20% sales tax hike was rammed down our throats. Got what you deserved, MD. Don't make that mistake again! Vote the sleazebag phony out.

Posted by: OSmelly | July 17, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

I go along with ceebee2. I say a plague on both your houses. They are both responsible for the $3 billion ICC bondoggle which will take a "toll" on the Chesapeake Bay (excuse the pun. and both enabled the slots/gambling fiasco.

Posted by: 15of18 | July 17, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

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