Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

First Click, Maryland
How much do voters care about health care?

First Click


Your daily download of political news and analysis:
35 days until the Maryland elections

Click here to receive First Click in a morning e-mail.

Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010:

The Agenda

WagnerIn this year's race for governor in Maryland, the candidates have talked incessantly about jobs and taxes. But health care -- an issue that generated no shortage of debate on the national and state levels in recent years -- has received remarkably little attention.

An advocacy group headed by the spunky and persistent Vincent DeMarco is hoping to change that, starting today.

PostVinnyPicture.jpgThe Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative is launching a radio campaign highlighting what it says are the differences between Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) on health care. DeMarco's group does not endorse candidates, but the ad leaves little doubt about which candidate it believes is better on its issue.

"Governor Martin O'Malley led the fight to reform Maryland's health-care system, making
insurance more accessible and affordable," says the narrator in the one-minute ad. "Former governor Robert Ehrlich opposed this reform and would take us the other way."

O'Malley has generally won high marks from DeMarco's group for expanding state-subsidized health care to an additional 200,000 Marylanders during the economic downturn and for his support of the federal health-care bill, which Ehrlich opposed.

The ad asks listeners if they want to move "forward" -- or "backward" -- on health care. "Moving Maryland Forward" is, of course, O'Malley's slogan this election year.

The ads are airing on four Baltimore radio stations, including WBAL, the station on which Ehrlich co-hosted a Saturday morning talk show with his wife until officially declaring his candidacy in April. DeMarco says the group will spend at least $40,000 on the ad buy.

The message and quality of the ads aside -- they have a weird echo effect for emphasis that struck this listener as jarring -- they raise an interesting question: Why has health care slipped so far down the agenda in the governor's race?

Is it fatigue after the acrimonious debate in Congress? Do both candidates fear the issue is so polarizing that they will alienate as many people as they attract by talking about it?

If you believe DeMarco's group, O'Malley has a good story to tell. Yet in "The Issues" section of his Web site, you have to scroll down a ways to find health care.

"Jobs," "Taxes," "Fiscal Responsibility" and "Family Owned Businesses" are literally the first tier of issues that O'Malley presents on the page. The second tier is "Education," "Higher Education," "Women and Children" and "Public Safety." You can find "Healthcare" on the third tier.

"A Healthy Maryland" is the eighth of nine issues listed on Ehrlich's Web site. The top three: "Creating New Jobs," "Lowering Maryland's Tax Burden" and "Balancing The Budget."

We'll see in coming days if DeMarco's ads do anything at all to shuffle that deck.

-- John Wagner

News You Should Know

Alarm bells sounded after posting of gloomy jobs report
Thumbnail image for o'malley-serious.JPG"A senior member of Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration ordered a gloomy economic report removed from a state Web site last month that ran counter to a more positive spin O'Malley's office had approved about slowing job growth in the state, e-mails show," write The Post's Aaron C. Davis, John Wagner and Anne E. Marimow. "The internal report characterized Maryland's economy as having 'stalled.' It was mistakenly posted by a staffer on Aug. 20 and removed hours later as alarm bells rang in two state agencies and in the governor's office, the documents show."

Extent of Obama involvement in Maryland remains an open question
Thumbnail image for obama mug.jpegMaryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's appearance Monday at the White House for a bill-signing ceremony with President Obama "raises anew a question of how involved the president might become in Washington's back yard to try to secure a win for O'Malley in Maryland's gubernatorial race," writes The Post's Davis. "After becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Virginia in 44 years, Obama's motorcade crisscrossed the Potomac repeatedly last year to campaign for the party's gubernatorial hopeful, Creigh Deeds. ... This year, however, demands for Obama's time have multiplied. ...Scores of unsettled contests will determine the balance of power in Congress as well as control of a majority of state capitals."
.
State's first slots casino opens doors ahead of grand opening
PerryvilleCasinoDrawing.jpg"Patrons of Maryland's first slots casino didn't have to wait for its grand opening to start gambling," writes The Post's Wagner. "Hollywood Casino Perryville, a 1,500-machine facility in the state's northeastern corner, swung its doors open to the public at 8 a.m. Monday, three days ahead of a planned grand opening. After a successful trial run Saturday night that benefited several local charities, the state issued the casino a license Sunday, and operators said they saw no reason to make Marylanders wait any longer."

Kratovil continues to hammer Harris on taxes
Kratovil mouth open.jpg"Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) is sharpening his message in his tough reelection race, airing his second consecutive negative ad that purports to expose 'the real Andy Harris,'" writes The Post's Ben Pershing. "Polls suggest Kratovil is running neck and neck with Harris, the Republican state senator who is squaring off against Kratovil for the second consecutive cycle. Kratovil's first two ads focused on subjects like his background as a prosecutor and his authorship of a bill requiring legislation to be posted online for 72 hours before it comes to a vote. But now Kratovil is going on the attack, airing his second negative ad in the last two weeks focused on Harris' position on taxes."


Quotables

Ehrlichemails1.jpg"It appears a staff member told the truth, was caught telling the truth, and then they just made up the rest of the story."
-- former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) on the gloomy economic report removed from a state Web site last month that ran counter to the more positive spin of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D)

"There are a lot of analysts and internal people at (the Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation) who pore over the monthly job reports and ask one another what they mean and offer their perspectives and opinions, and this appears to be one of those perspectives and one of those opinions."
-- Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), offering an explanation of what happened

"I'm mad as a Maryland citizen that my government is hiding things from me to promote a political candidate."
-- Senate Minority Leader Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) on the removed jobs report


-----

Trust First Click for critical news and analysis you need to navigate Maryland politics each weekday. You can also find First Click on Facebook and Twitter.

By John Wagner  | September 28, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  First Click, John Wagner  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Kratovil continues negative ads, calls Harris 'extreme'
Next: Obama to join O'Malley on campaign trail next week

Comments

Ummm...John... The reason why the Governor doesn't have Health Care listed at the top of his "Issues" page is because the Lieutenant Governor is the 2nd floor's lead on health care. If you look on the Lieutenant Governor's page you will see that it is one of his key issue areas - you should know this.

Posted by: HotArdienteBoricua | September 28, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Ummm...John... The reason why the Governor doesn't have Health Care listed at the top of his "Issues" page is because the Lieutenant Governor is the 2nd floor's lead on health care. If you look on the Lieutenant Governor's page you will see that it is one of his key issue areas - you should know this.

Posted by: HotArdienteBoricua | September 28, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Ummm...John... The reason why the Governor doesn't have Health Care listed at the top of his "Issues" page is because the Lieutenant Governor is the 2nd floor's lead on health care. If you look on the Lieutenant Governor's page you will see that it is one of his key issue areas - you should know this.

Posted by: HotArdienteBoricua | September 28, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Why do you say the DLLR report was mistakenly posted? I understand that's the Administration's official take, but if you review the e-mails you will see Bernie Kohn (DLLR Communications Director) warning Shaun Adamec (O'Malley's Press Secretary) that they should avoid positive job references because they see a different trend (exactly what their report language says), three days later the report is put up then taken down and three days later O'Malley delivers comments about a rosy economic outlook. The "stallings" report that was swept under the rug proves true less than a month after it was written. So it wasn't mistakenly posted if you go by the e-mail tree.

Instead of taking whatever O'Malley folks say to you as the truth (as the WaPo reporters did when they wrote the original story on this), why don't you ask some tough questions and do some PIA requests of your own? Isn't it embarrassing that a political blog dug deeper than seasoned reporters with supposed connections?

Posted by: h20andoil | September 28, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company