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Ehrlich proposes two TV and three radio debates

John Wagner

The debate over debates ratcheted up Thursday in Maryland's gubernatorial race, with the campaign of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) proposing two television and three radio encounters.

"With 211,000 Marylanders currently unable to find work, Marylanders deserve a thorough exchange of ideas on how best to tackle the many challenges we face, particularly how to lead a lasting economic recovery in our state," Henry Fawell, Ehrlich's communications director, said in a letter to the O'Malley campaign. "The Bob Ehrlich for Maryland campaign proposes five debates under conditions to be mutually agreed upon by the campaigns."

Ehrlich included at least some specifics on all five debates.

O'Malley campaign manager Tom Russell noted in a statement that O'Malley had already challenged Ehrlich to debate and said O'Malley remains "happy to debate whoever is the Republican nominee after the primary" -- a reference to Brian Murphy, Ehrlich's long-shot GOP rival who was endorsed last week by Sarah Palin.

As soon as Ehrlich announced plans to get in the race in April, O'Malley challenged him to a radio debate on Baltimore's WBAL. Ehrlich declined, instead inviting O'Malley to come on the talk show Ehrlich was co-hosting with his wife at the time.

"Bob Ehrlich is losing momentum in this campaign because he represents the past and is recognized as the biggest spender in Maryland history," Russell said. "Governor O'Malley looks forward to a robust debate on how we continue to move Maryland forward."

Russell's statement did not respond directly to the Ehrlich camp's list, but included several debates to which O'Malley has already agreed, including one proposed by The Washington Post. That one did not make Ehrlich's list.

Here are the specifics on the five debates proposed by Ehrlich:

-- WMAR-TV "Square Off" with Richard Sher as moderator; 60-minute debate with no timed responses. Taped live on Sept. 16th in the afternoon with no audience.

-- WJLA-TV/NewsChannel 8 in association with the Howard County Chamber of Commerce; 60 minutes with no timed responses; Bruce DePuyt as moderator.

-- Radio debate hosted by the Baltimore Jewish Council. Broadcaster, length, moderator and rules to be determined.

-- WOLB Radio hosts a 60-minute debate, moderated by Senator Larry Young. No timed responses.

-- WTOP Radio debate with host to be determined; Friday Oct. 29 at 10 a.m.; 60 minutes with no timed responses.

By John Wagner  |  August 12, 2010; 1:05 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , John Wagner  
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This 'debate on debates' is nothing but a desperate distraction from Bob Ehrlich's campaign. They want to change the subject away from their embarrassing fundraising totals. What's next? Asking Michael Steele for a bailout?

I can't wait to see Bob Ehrlich try be the anti-tax Tea Party candidate while defending his tax and spending record as Governor. Maybe he'll explain what programs he wants to cut (maybe education, environment, health care or transportation) to fund his tax cuts for millionaires.

We've been through Ehrlich before and let's keep him in the past!

Posted by: MarylandMatt | August 12, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Governor O'Malley understandably wants to reaffirm his highly successful four-year term as governor. Ehrlich is desperately trying to disillusion Marylanders. Governor O'Malley surely wants the opportunity to debate Ehrlich and highlight Maryland's progress.

Posted by: lsutton1 | August 12, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Debates don't matter, because the choice is so obvious. Why would anyone in the DC Metro area want Bob Ehrlich to come back? There was a reason we fired him four years ago. This do-over election for Marylanders is nothing but a waste of time.

Has he changed any of his positions? He still opposes the Purple Line. He still opposes higher education. He still opposes extending services to working class families.

All that's changed is that he is pretending to be a member of the "tea party." That makes no sense because I thought he was a "moderate" Republican last time. Does he think the President is a socialist and not born in this country too. That'll go over well in Price George's County!

Posted by: JoshPG | August 12, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Agreed Matt. It's clear that Ehrlich is now trying debates to add some fire to a campaign that's only losing momentum. I think he's also afraid of Murphy, whose actually turning out to be a challenge.

O'Malley's been ready to take on Ehrlich in a debate. We can't afford another term of Bob. Go O'Malley 2010!

Posted by: amallinoff | August 12, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Debates" are a waste of time. They are nothing more than sound bites and a chance for the politicians to hear themselves speak. Pure theater. Poor theater at that.

Posted by: jckdoors | August 12, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I really want to see an O'Malley and Ehrlich debate. How is he going to try to deliver a campaign message of fiscal responsibility when really he raised taxes by $3 million, the biggest spender in Maryland's history. He should just go back to working as a quasi-lobbyist for those special interests.

Wonder how he will evade those questions in this proposed debate

Posted by: jwlittle91 | August 12, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I love listening to Bush Era Politicians take credit for the "money" and "prosperity" we all had while the housing bubble was gaining momentum. Does Bob Ehrlich really think Marylander's are that dumb?

No Mass transit from Bob, just a widening of roads, which begets more cars, No real fiscal plan from Bob, just more of the Trickle Down Economics the GOP as been using for years now to steal out of the Middle Class pocket. No real plan on growth, just more tax cuts for businesses of course. Again, trickle down to us, IF they increase profits, and IF needed they might give us a job paying 1/4 of what we used to make. And Dang it we better be happy about getting THAT much, right Bob? While you collect millions? I am so tired of disingenuous politicians.

So instead of substance argue about debates... Good Political Move

Posted by: MAinMD | August 12, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Maryland voters need to read this gem from the Wall Street Journal:

Posted by: FranknErnest | August 13, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Uh, OK Bob... folks have not forgotten that your first challenge to debate Governor Ehrlich was for him to appear on YOUR conservative-pundit radio show.

Some debate.


Posted by: free-donny | August 13, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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