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O'Malley and Ehrlich spar over health care, education and minority issues

Washington Post Editors

Maryland's two leading candidates for governor sparred over health care, education funding and their commitment to issues affecting African Americans in a radio debate Thursday morning.

With less than two weeks to Election Day, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) sought to more aggressively highlight his opposition to the federal health care law, which Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) supports, during the debate on Baltimore's WOLB-AM.

WOLB1.jpg"It's more in the direction of a Canadian, European-style health care delivery system," Ehrlich said of the federal law, which President Obama championed. Ehrlich advocated scrapping it and starting over, acknowledging that it contained some worthwhile provisions.

O'Malley countered that Obama had been "courageous" to tackle the issue and recounted steps taken at the state level to extend subsidized health insurance to more than 200,000 Marylanders in recent years, despite the economic downturn.

Ehrlich "did absolutely nothing to advance the cause," O'Malley told host Larry Young, a former state senator from Baltimore.

The candidates also argued over the importance of an education initiative that provides additional money to jurisdictions-- including Baltimore and Prince George's counties-- where the cost of providing education is higher. O'Malley has committed to funding the program next year; Ehrlich has not.

On a station with a predominantly black audience, the candidates also recounted their records on minority business outreach and appointing African Americans to government posts and judgeships.

--John Wagner

By Washington Post Editors  | October 21, 2010; 10:14 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections, John Wagner  
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