Democratic Maryland gubernatorial candidate Douglas Gansler on Monday disparaged his primary opponent’s service in Iraq, criticizing him as “somebody who has never managed anybody, never run anything.”
Gansler’s rival, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, spent five years on active duty in the Army in the 1980s and has been a reservist since.
“You know, his (campaign) ads are about how he was a lawyer in Iraq, and that’s all fine and good, but this is a real job, and we need to have somebody who actually has leadership experience,” Gansler said at an event on Monday sponsored by the Tech Council of Maryland.
Gansler’s comment drew a rebuke from the veterans advocacy group VoteVets.org, which also demanded an apology.
“Doug Gansler needs to stop smearing those of us who served in Iraq as not having had a ‘real job,'” VoteVets chairman Jon Soltz said. “It’s a horrible insult to all those men and women who put their lives on the line, and especially those who died, in service to this country. Additionally, Mr. Gansler, if he chooses to attack an Iraq War Veteran, ought to at least admit that the person he is attacking has been serving as Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor. This kind of slime ball politics is what turns people off to our democratic process, so Mr. Gansler is doing no favors for Maryland or our democratic electoral system by playing in the gutter like this.”
The Washington Post reports that hours after the event, Gansler issued a statement saying that he has “the utmost respect for [Brown’s] military service and for veterans.”
“The point I was trying to make is that Anthony Brown’s only attempt to lead as lieutenant governor was the unmitigated debacle of the health exchange Web site that denied Marylanders access to health care and cost taxpayers nearly $200 million,” he said.
Ganlser has made Brown’s handling of the state’s health care exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act a focal point of the campaign.
Shortly after announcing his candidacy for governor last October, Gansler apologized for appearing at a high school beach graduation party and doing nothing to stop the underage drinking was apparently taking place. (HT: Lauren Jenkins)