Governor Debates Heat Up
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
O'Malley and Ehrlich, of course, go back a long way. Democrat O'Malley defeated Republican Ehrlich in the governor's race four years ago, and besides that, they are both lawyers from Baltimore who have been among the most recognizable faces of their parties for the last 10 years. Rather than working together, the two men have spent much of that time at odds, causing what The Post called a "deep, storied schism" that is unlikely to subside anytime soon. "Close observers and confidants of the two men say few things would make either candidate happier than thrusting a dagger in the other's political career Nov. 2," The Post reported.
In Maryland and elsewhere, the sharpening tone of campaign season has been on display in heated gubernatorial debates this week. O'Malley and Ehrlich met on Monday (Oct. 11) and again on Thursday (Oct. 14), and the debates were filled with interruptions, finger-pointing and even allegations of racism, with O'Malley accusing Ehrlich on Monday of using "coded language" to disparage poor and minority children in Baltimore. While O'Malley played the role of the aggressor in the week's first debate, Ehrlich stormed back Thursday, at one point accusing O'Malley of facilitating illegal immigration .
In California, the governor's race between Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman, the Republican former CEO of e-Bay, has centered in recent weeks not on the state's overwhelming fiscal problems, but on an obscene comment a Brown staffer made about Whitman, as well as on the fallout over revelations that Whitman hired an illegal immigrant years ago as a maid. During a debate on Tuesday (Oct. 12), former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw even likened the Brown staffer's comment about Whitman to "the N-word," prompting the attorney general to apologize directly to Whitman for the slur.
In Georgia, gubernatorial campaign fireworks were put on hold earlier this week when the daughter and two granddaughters of the Democratic nominee, Roy Barnes, were injured in a car crash. But Barnes soon returned to the campaign trail, and his debate Thursday with Republican former congressman Nathan Deal was anything but subdued. Instead, as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said, it resembled a " bare-knuckle slugfest over ethics ." Among other things, Deal has criticized Barnes — who served one previous term as governor — for appearing as a lawyer in cases before judges he himself had appointed as chief executive. Barnes shot back in Thursday's debate that he had also appeared before Deal's own son, who became a judge after Barnes had appointed him as a district attorney: "Are you saying your son is corrupt?"