Live blog of second O'Malley-Ehrlich debate
** 12:55 p.m. Rapid-fire question phase.
Should gay marriages be recognized in Maryland? Ehrlich says no, but bundles of rights should attach to committed, unmarried couples. O'Malley says he supports the decision to recognize same-sex marriage in Maryland and would sign any bill legalizing such unions in the state.
How can the Orioles become a better team? Power-hitting first baseman, Ehrlich says. O'Malley says, "practice, practice, practice."
PepCo had a rough summer, how can it be better? O’Malley briefly addresses a commission he formed, but then the candidates start talking about BGE. There’s direct sniping, talking over each other. Audience is openly disobeying rules about clapping, booing.
Tell us one thing people don't know about you. Ehrlich says he is “good on 70s and late 60s music trivia.” O'Malley says wife wants him to come home earlier. He says he’ll pass on a question about his favorite song.
Click below to read the rest of the live blog, which we've since cleaned up.
** 12:48 p.m. The Post moderator, pushing a theme that the candidates "don't like each other," asks them to say something nice about each other.
O'Malley says he liked Ehrlich's "flush tax" funding for the Chesapeake Bay Restoration fund. Ehrlich admires O'Malley for "putting himself out there" to be governor.
** 12:45 p.m. Question about whether race card was played in the first debate.
Ehrlich: You have to be unafraid to care about Baltimore City schools. He revisits the 11 dysfunctional schools state takeover issue from four years ago, which he resurrected at Monday’s debate. Ehrlich also revisits arrest policies O'Malley had as mayor.
O'Malley does not directly respond to a question about whether he was calling Ehrlich racist at the last debate. Says he believes there is a calculation of blaming Baltimore City and illegal immigrants as way to take voters’ eyes off the fact that Republicans drove the economy into ditch.
O'Malley says it is "almost amusing" how Ehrlich is recasting his record. He mentions Ehrlich bussing in homeless black men from Philadelphia to give out misinformation at polls four years ago. Ehrlich says the sales tax hurts poor people.
** 12:40 p.m. Immigration question: Should state money go to organizations that assist illegal immigrants? (a reference to Casa de Maryland)
Asked whether he would fund organizations that help illegal immigrants, O'Malley talked about "the politics of fear and division." We will not support groups that conspire to break the law, but the nation has not come to consensus on how to deal with immigration, O’Malley says. Continually uses phrase "new Americans."
Ehrlich says O'Malley celebrated Casa de Maryland. Ehrlich prefers the term "illegals." Says immigration has been a bi-partisan failure. Says O'Malley supports in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Decries Maryland driver’s license system.
** 12:38 p.m. Both governors talk about how their upbringing by loving parents helped them become leaders. Ehrlich calls himself "part Arbutus, part Princeton.
** 12:35 p.m. Both governors want to keep the Redskins in Prince George's County. Shocking.
** 12:30 p.m. Question about pensions: The system is in trouble.
Ehrlich answers directly, saying the state should move to a defined contribution system for new hires; defined benefit has hurt the state. He says those already vested should retain benefits they signed up for. But counties “need to share the burden.” Says “everyone is scared to death to talk about it.”
O'Malley says the state “needs to do the responsible thing, in the responsible way.” He does not support ending defined benefit; wants to wait for a commission report.
Ehrlich says O'Malley “just dropped a bunch of cliches.”
** 12:24 p.m. Question: Name on thing each of you would do for Montgomery County and Prince George’s County?
O'Malley talks about the light rail, Prince George’s hospital.
Ehrlich talks about rapid buses instead of the light rail on the purple line.
O'Malley says all local leaders favor the light rail, which is more expensive up front but cheaper in the long run. And it is good for the business areas, he says. O’Malley says the rapid buses “is a metaphor” for Ehrlich’s administration: “More expensive and less effective.”
** 12:19 To Ehrlich: Is it really smart to issue a "blanket statement" that you should not raise taxes?
Ehrlich says that with a $32 billion budget, “we don't need to increase taxes.”
O'Malley calls out his credibility. “You made the same pledge four years ago,” O’Malley says to Ehrlich. “You raised the property tax Bob,” O’Malley says.
Ehrlich snaps back, “The governor doesn't understand the fundamentals of state government.”
The audience bursts into boos and applause.
** 12:11 p.m. To O’Malley: Shouldn't you be more friendly to businesses?
O'Malley mentions a Chamber of Commerce report that says Maryland is No. 2 on innovation. He also mentions other business ranking.
To Ehrlich: How will you pay for the sales tax reeducation that you want to make?
"We've become a tax hell," Ehrlich says. To O’Malley, "You've passed the largest tax increase in Maryland history," Ehrlich says. A sales tax hurts retail Maryland. Pressed about how to pay for the tax, Ehrlich says, “I don't believe we'll lose that much money because people will spend more.” He then mentions pension reform and agency overhauls.
O'Malley jumps in: "You have no idea how you are going to pay for the ... " sales tax reduction.
** 12:06 p.m. Question on Jobs: What is best new idea for creating jobs?
O'Malley: We have been holding on to job base better than most states.
Moderator: Can you tell us something new?
O'Malley: We created $5,000 job credit, invest Maryland venture fund, the largest public-private partnership to modernize the Port of Baltimore. Increase bio tech tax credit. Cybersecurity.
Ehrlich: A small business bill of rights. We have one of the most hostile business environments.
Moderator: What would you do to create jobs?
Ehrlich: Small business should get "consistent" answers.
** 12:02 p.m. O’Malley won the coin toss and chose for Ehrlich to give the first opening statement.
Ehrlich thanks his wife and running mate, Mary Kane. Says the debate will be about "who can you trust." Says O'Malley pushed through highest tax increase.
O'Malley thanks Marylanders and his wife, goes to campaign talking points and says voters have a decision to make -- move Maryland forward or backward. Says he has cut state spending. Mentions transit projects.
** 11:53 a.m. O'Malley and Ehrlich are taking the stage.
Audience split into chunk of O’Malley fans on one side, Ehrlich fans on the other. Ehrlich is in a dark suit with a red tie, and O'Malley has a black suit with a blue tie -- keeping with traditional party colors.
** 11:50 a.m. A makeshift auditorium at The Washington Post is filing up with supporters for Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
The two are expected to take the stage in a few minutes for their second and (probably) final televised debate.
O'Malley's campaign RV, "The Katie" is parked outside and -- this being Washington, DC in the rain, parking is tough. Top O'Malley staffers are in the room as are former top Ehrlich aides. O'Malley campaign manager Tom Russell reported that it took him two hours to get from Baltimore to D.C.