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O'Malley touts record in campaign's first TV ad

What's become a Friday afternoon tradition this summer in the Maryland governor's race -- a new ad release by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) -- got a little more interesting today.

With just under four months to go before Election Day, O'Malley is making the jump from radio to television with an ad titled "Tough Choices." In the 30-second ad, a narrator describes O'Malley as a sound fiscal steward working for the middle class, as pictures flash across the screen of the governor with students, then at a construction site, and back again to looking pensive, wearing a shirt and tie.

Putting the commercial's claims about O'Malley's fiscal record aside for a moment, the spot represents a shift from the increasingly negative tone of the governor's recent radio ads, in which he characterized former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) as a lobbyist for big oil, Wall Street bankers and other unsavory special interests. That shift was not altogether unexpected. For weeks, O'Malley advisers have signaled that the campaign's television ads -- which they believe most members of the public will grade them on -- would begin by focusing on the governor's record.

In beating Ehrlich to television, the ad also highlights -- again -- the large money advantage with which O'Malley began the race. Ehrlich began fundraising when he entered the race in late March, but is believed to remain millions behind. He has not aired an ad, though purchased ads linking to his campaign Web page have begun appearing online.

In similar fashion to his radio ads, O'Malley's first television commercial takes liberties in describing the fiscal condition he inherited as governor, and the budget actions he proposed to close spending gaps.

The ad claims O'Malley "inherited a $1.7 billion-dollar budget deficit" from former Gov. Ehrlich. It is true that O'Malley confronted a chronic spending imbalance because of unfunded education costs, but when he entered office he also had nearly $1 billion of a tax windfall remaining from the housing boom. He needed most of that in his first year to pay for the scheduled increases in education spending. In his first year, O'Malley and the General Assembly also approved a broad tax package to cover future education costs and other expenses.

UPDATE: The O'Malley campaign says the ad's $1.7-billion figure -- the projected shortfall the governor would have faced in his second year in office had he and the legislature not raised taxes -- represented the real fiscal dilemma O'Malley inherited. For your reading pleasure, here's the report.

O'Malley's ad also claims he cut "$5 billion in waste and government spending."

Over the past four years, O'Malley has, in the parlance of state budget speak, taken $5 billion worth of budget "actions" to balance spending with revenue. But more than $2 billion of those were one-time fund shifts and other maneuvers. And the bulk of his actions were short-term fixes that produced little or no ongoing savings.

The ad will begin airing Monday in Baltimore, according to O'Malley's campaign. The governor has not yet purchased air time in the more expensive Washington market.

The full text of O'Malley's ad:

"He inherited a one point seven billion dollar budget deficit ...

Then an economic crisis.

But Martin O'Malley went to work.

Cutting five billion in waste and government spending

While also making opportunities for middle class families a priority.

Freezing college tuition four years in a row,

Record investments in our schools,

And tax credits for small businesses to create jobs.

While other states are still struggling, Martin O'Malley is making the tough choices ...

To move Maryland forward."

By Aaron C. Davis  |  July 9, 2010; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis  
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O'Malley has the campaign money, a huge organization, and Democrats VASTLY outnumber Republicans in the state. He also obviously does not feel encumbered by any campaign scruples whatsoever.

So it should be a cakewalk.... except for one little detail :

The citizenry was far better off 4 years ago, before they foolishly fell for O'Malley's LAST pack of lies.

Posted by: gitarre | July 10, 2010 5:04 AM | Report abuse

He forgot to take credit for throwing millionaires out of mayland and welcoming illegal aliens in. Kudos to Governor for job well done.

Vote O'malley back then he'll take a bold step of raising taxes to fund all his pet projects.

Posted by: optimist_10 | July 10, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Omalley's is in lock step with Obama. His progressive ideas are hurting Maryland and I don't think Maryland is that type of democratic state. Other democratic states like New Jersey and Mass and Virginia have realized the shift to the extreme left is detimental to their states. I think Maryland is realizing it now and it will be evident in their votes in November.

Posted by: bobilly2 | July 10, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to Martin O’Malley Maryland has the 4th highest combined personal income tax in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.

O’Malley enacted the largest tax increase in Maryland history in 2007.

The O’Malley Administration enacted a record $1.4 billion tax increase, including a 20% increase in the sales tax.

Posted by: geo82170 | July 10, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

His administration has singlehandedly destroyed the film and television industry in the state.

Posted by: maus92 | July 10, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

O’Malley enacted the largest tax increase in Maryland history in 2007. The O’Malley Administration enacted a record $1.4 billion tax increase, including a 20% increase in the sales tax. O’Malley also raised the corporate income tax. Thanks to Martin O'Malley Maryland has the 4th highest combined personal income tax in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.

Posted by: geo82170 | July 10, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Most people would agree that the two basic things we expect from state government are a strong public educational system and public safety.

This ad shows that in the face of a wicked national recession beyond the control of any state official, Governor O'Malley has made the choice to fully fund our public schools and hold the line on public tuition. The results, the top public school system the country, 1#! One of the best State University systems in the Country! Oh yeah, and a triple A bond rating-the highest in the Country.

He has also held the line on college tuition increases by putting in place a three year freeze. The former Governor raised college tuition 43%- a viscous regressive education tax.

Also, state violent crime numbers are at a 30 plus year low! O'Malley has made tough choices, cutting the operating budget significantly, furlouging employees and submitting negative growth budgets without sacrifincing education or public safety. His predecessor? Grew government over 40 percent in four years but underfunded school construction and public safety.

By the two most important measures, Governor O'Malley has produced-top schools, lowest crime rate in 30 years. Thank you Governor for a job well done.

Posted by: Negotiator1 | July 11, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Despite O'Malley being asked to "come clean" on his intentions to raise taxes in a televised debate in the last Governor's race, he dodged the question and was not transparent. His first order of business once in office was to raise taxes. Why should anyone believe O'Malley now? Has the sales tax increase even put a dent in the defecit?

If you give O'Malley another 4 years without there being another later term for him to consider AND without a General Assembly to keep him in check, there's no telling what he might do.

Posted by: Digitalman08 | July 11, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

$660 million is generated by the one percent that was added to the sales tax. The tax revenue was clearly needed and is in line with surrounding states,other than Delaware who charges distributors their sales tax.

The better question is how will Ehrlich pay for the $660 million or $2.5 billion over 4 years if he is successful in repealing the sales tax? He claims purchases will increase enough to fill the gap, however the math doesn't support that.

To generate that in sales, Ehrlich is asserting with a 5% sales tax as opposed to a 6%, Marylanders would spend 13.2 billion dollars more that they do now. Really Bob? That 1 penny on the sales tax is keeping $13.2 billion in consumer dollars locked up?

Tell the truth Bob, you know from your first term you have no ability to pass any legislative initiatives so you can make silly campaign promises with the foresight to know it won't pass and you can point a finger at the General assembly for your failure. That's leadership, Ehrlich style!

Reality is Brian Murphy is right, Ehrlich is a big tax (property tax, corporate filing, toll fees, 42 percent hike in tuition), big spending (42% increase in State budget) politician more concerned with gaining power than governing. Murphy calls the O'Malley budget honest, because it is, its straight forward.

Posted by: Negotiator1 | July 11, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

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