O’Malley admits negative ads included ‘mistake’

Mark Segraves, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says his negative radio ads linking former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, to the BP oil spill was a “tactical mistake.”

“What we should not have mentioned was the fact that the oil spill is going on in that ad, and that was a tactical mistake that my campaign made,” O’Malley said Thursday on WTOP’s Ask the Governor program.

O’Malley came under fire for the ad which called Ehrlich a lobbyist and linked the former governor to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“When they wanted to open new parts of the Gulf for drilling, Ehrlich voted with big oil again,” the ads says, referring to Ehrlich’s 2001 vote when he was a member of the United States Congress.

The measure had wide bipartisan support including every Maryland Democrat in the House.

O’Malley said the mistake gave the Ehrlich Campaign an opportunity to cry foul.

“The ad did mention the fact that oil was coming ashore in the Gulf, probably something the ad did not need to do and shouldn’t have done because it allowed the former governor to claim that we were making claims that he was associated with BP — which we never have.”

O’Malley did not step back from accusing Ehrlich of being a lobbyist.

“We never accused him of being a registered lobbyist,” O’Malley said. “We accused him of being a lobbyist.”

O’Malley renewed his call for Ehrlich to provide a list of his clients.

“I think he has an obligation when he runs for governor to disclose whose interest he’s been paid well to represent these last four years. I think that’s a legitimate issue.”

(Copyright 2010 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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