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First Click, Maryland
Obama visits as Md. governor's race accelerates

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Thursday, October 7, 2010:

The Agenda

WagnerBowie State University will become the center of Maryland's political universe this afternoon.

President Obama, as readers of this column no doubt already know, is coming to the Prince George's County campus to provide a boost to the campaign of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and to talk up other Maryland Democrats on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Obama fist.jpgThe president's visit, as we note in the pages of The Post this morning, is but one sign of a governor's race that is accelerating in the Washington suburbs.

Ehrlich will also campaign in the region today, hosting a Montgomery County Women for Ehrlich luncheon in Potomac. And his campaign will air its first TV ads in the expensive Washington-area market, two weeks after O'Malley launched his television effort.

On Wednesday, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and presumptive Prince George's County Executive-elect Rushern L. Baker III (D) took center stage in Lanham, criticizing Ehrlich for refusing to commit to an education plan that would send tens of millions of additional dollars to their jurisdictions.

Ehrlich said it was premature to say whether the state can afford the "geographic cost of education index," hoping to score points for being honest with voters.

As we also noted this morning, Obama's visit "underscores how O'Malley has aligned himself with a man who wasn't always his first choice for president, and how safe that strategy has remained in a state where Obama is far more popular than he is nationally."

While Democrats hope Obama's visit fires up their base, Ehrlich downplayed it Wednesday, saying: "It's what presidents do. It hasn't had much impact on races around the country."

Indeed, Maryland is not the only stop on the president's political calendar today. After his visit to Bowie State, Obama is scheduled to attend a pair of fundraisers in Chicago for Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias, who is trying to keep Obama's old seat out of Republican hands.

Stay tuned to this space for plenty of coverage of what happens between now and then.

-- John Wagner

News You Should Know

No dice on getting Ehrlich records on casino work
Thumbnail image for Anne Arundel slots.jpg"The campaign of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) Wednesday called on former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) and his allies to 'come clean' about their work on behalf of a casino developer seeking to build a slots parlor at Arundel Mills Mall," writes The Post's Ann E. Marimow. "The campaign suggested in a conference call with reporters that it had been stymied in its efforts to obtain public records that would show contact between Anne Arundel County's elected officials and employees of Ehrlich's law firm. But, like the county government, Ehrlich's campaign said it had nothing to hide."

Few Md. high school seniors tripped up by test requirements
High schools.jpg"Maryland's high school testing requirements were designed to increase rigor and the value of the state's diplomas, but only a tiny fraction of seniors this year failed to graduate because of their exam results, and an increasing number of students are using alternative assessments because they have difficulty passing the regular tests, according to data released Wednesday by the State Department of Education," writes The Post's Michael Birnbaum. "The tests, the High School Assessments, have been criticized by some educators as not being sufficiently rigorous to determine whether a student is truly ready to graduate. But state officials say the tests -- in algebra, English, biology and government -- are an important minimum requirement and have improved high school education. This year, 0.06 percent of seniors failed to receive their diplomas because of the tests and 8.6 percent of the senior class graduated only after completing the alternative projects, an increase of 2.3 percentage points from 2009."

In La Plata, Brown kicks off 'Warrior to Worker' program
Brown looks right.jpg"All state agencies are required to actively recruit and employ military veterans under a new state initiative that closely mirrors another implemented on the federal level by President Barack Obama last year," writes Jeff Newman in The Gazette. "Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) announced the 'Warrior to Worker' program at American Legion Post 82 in La Plata after Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) signed an executive order Monday morning. Veterans already receive a preference when applying for state jobs, but now departments will start looking for veterans to fill vacancies."

Audit finds troubles at Md.'s juvenile services department
"Maryland's Department of Juvenile Services did not consistently implement or review treatment plans for its young charges, according to an audit released Wednesday, a failure that cost the state $3 million in Medicaid money at a time when officials were cutting programs to close budget gaps," writes The Baltimore Sun's Julie Bykowicz. "The agency also neglected to properly document the supervision of some troubled teens, the audit by the state Department of Legislative Services found, including those in its hallmark Violence Prevention Initiative, a community program for young people most at risk of killing or being killed."

Quotables

Ehrlich scoff.jpg"I do have a plan. We're going to medicate Miller and defeat Busch."
-- former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), responding to a question at the Greater Baltimore Economic Forum about how his relationships with would be different, if re-elected, with a General Assembly now led by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel)

Katie O'Malley.jpg"I'm not happy. No one wants a bus named after them. Maybe a Mini Cooper, but not a huge big bus. It's motivating me to stay at the gym."
-- Maryland first lady Catherine Curran O'Malley, on her husband's campaign RV, nicknamed "The Katie"


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By John Wagner  | October 7, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  First Click, John Wagner  
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Comments

Unbelievable. We have a legislature controlled in both houses by the Democratic Party, and Gov. Ehrlich thinks he's going to get something positive done for Maryland by responding to a question about working with the legislature with, "I do have a plan. We're going to medicate Miller and defeat Busch."

No, thanks. I want a governor who understands he needs to work WITH the legislature, not bulldoze them.

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | October 7, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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