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October 18, 2010

Ehrlich courts women in new campaign ad

A new attack ad from Team Ehrlich hit the airwaves this weekend hammering Gov. Martin O'Malley on familiar themes: Taxes and pocketbook issues. What's new about the spot is the overwhelming number of women featured in it.

The 30-second ad is mostly black and white and includes the voices of 13 women who point out flaws with O'Malley's tenure. (One woman in the ad mentions concern for her daughters' futures.) The piece is capped off with GOP lieutenant governor pick Mary Kane offering up Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. as a more palatable alternative.

The overt focus on women marks a shift for Ehrlich, who has not used paid advertising to make an outright appeal for the female vote. It is also the first TV ad featuring Kane with a solo speaking role. Ehrlich's voice is not used at all in the spot.

Ehrlich has ground to make up with female voters. He consistently trails O'Malley, a Democrat, with the group. The Washington Post recently pegged the gender gap at 56 to 38. O'Malley isn't taking female support for granted, said his deputy campaign manager Rick Abbruzzese. The governor just wrapped up a series of rallies focused on generating enthusiasm with the group.

The ad makes a series of claims that are worth examining. The first woman is annoyed with O'Malley because every time she goes to the grocery store she pays "a little more," a reference to O'Malley's 20 percent increase to the sales tax. Food, however, is not subject to the state's sales tax.

Ehrlich campaign spokesman Henry Fawell said the claim is supportable because grocery shoppers frequently pick up other items that are subject to the new tax like shampoo, detergent, books and magazines. A central plank of Ehrlich's platform is a promise to repeal O'Malley's increase -- but has not detailed how he'd pay for that change.

Another woman in the ad is irritated with O'Malley because college tuition is going up, a reference to the three percent hike at Maryland's public university system this year. She does not mention that costs at the state's public schools also increased during Ehrlich's watch.

A third is upset about hikes to her utility bills, referring to the 72 percent increase to utility costs that dominated the 2006 campaign cycle when it was proposed by an oversight panel. O'Malley latched on to the proposed increase when running against Ehrlich last time but, after toppling him with the promise of holding down rates, the bills still skyrocketed. We've blogged about the history of the BGE issue - one both camps like to rehash.

The last gripe is the largest: A woman says O'Malley would "raise taxes even more." The governor said in a meeting last week with The Sun editorial board that the budget he's preparing for next year includes no new tax increases. He has not ruled out raising taxes in ensuing years but has often said he'd prefer not to do that.

Posted by Annie Linskey at 5:30 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Political ads


Wow...even in blog posts you folk at the Sun defend O'Malley to the max. He must being paying you folk a whole heap of money huh?!

Why no mention of O'Malley's all-woman attack ad using the theme that "Bob Ehrlich can't be trusted?"

I doubt his lies will have much affect on women as they are mainly smarter than men and are not as easily manipulated. The latest ad I saw was so full of lies that I thought it was an SNL ad. Bobby states a women pays more at the grocery because of O'Malley's 1 cent sales tax increase. Groceries are still exempt from the tax. Then he mentions O'Malley increasing tuition when Guv Bobby actually did that; not O'Malley. Then the favorite Republican boogeyman ... he will raise your taxes although I have never heard him state this, but I do hear Bobby giving tax breaks to all kinds of special interests, giving tax money back to counties, and repealing the 1 cent sales tax and still promising to magically balance the budget. Men might fall for that; but women expect more.

Ehrlich is getting desperate time for all his and Julius Henson's dirty tricks.

Ehrlich isn't getting desperate. This is just par for the course in his campaigning style. Every single one of the claims made by the paid actors pretending to be "women" is false or misleading at best. Then they put the queen of the phonies up there: Mary Kane. And the ad doesn't even have the courtesy to tell people who she is. She's not like the others, just some random actors pretending to be women making stuff about Ehrlich. She's IS the campaign. The only thing we are left to conclude is that the other women are phonies as well. And they are. They are all paid actors, reading the lines Kane and the Ehrlich campaign feeds them.

Okay, I'm female and have never missed an election. Let's review Ehrlich's bullet points to woo my vote. College tuition? Couldn't care less, I got my degrees already and am not in the market for any more. Sales Tax? There is no tax on food, and the budget has to be balanced. Unlike the feds, the state isn't allowed to print money. Utility rates? Yes, I'm very concerned but they've been going sky high for 20 years, Ehrlich is a Shatuck buddy just like O'Malley. Raising Taxes? They all raise taxes, my pocket gets raided even more because I'm not married nor do I have kids.

Ehrlich should go back to the drawing board with his woman-woo-ads. He didn't address any issues that are important to me. Perhaps he shouldn't have been so cocky to think that he knows what I am thinking. What is important to Ehrlich and his posse of white males may not be important to me.

Seriously??? An ad claiming that college tuition is going up?

How stupid does Bob "Guv" Ehrlich think women are. They all know tuition went up by more than 40 percent during his last term.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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