ROCKVILLE - Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Doug Gansler is in hot water after comments he made regarding his running mate, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, went viral.
“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 a forum sponsored by the Maryland Tech Counsel.
Lt. Governor Brown is a decorated army veteran. He served in several positions including Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the Army. In 2004, Brown took a leave of absence from the House of Delegates to serve a 10-month tour of duty in Iraq.
“To use the men and women of the armed forces and to show a disrespect and utter disregard for their service to make a point to score political points in a gubernatorial campaign, I think it’s reckless and irresponsible. Today there are hundreds of thousands of men and women serving in the armed forces in different locations, doing different jobs, and I can tell you each of them has a real job in service to our country,” Brown said.
In the immediate backlash, several veteran groups, including Vote Vets, a national organization who endorsed Brown, asked its members to donate $10 to Brown’s campaign.
“Doug Gansler needs to stop smearing those of us who served in Iraq as not having had a ‘real job.’ 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,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and chairman of VoteVets.org.
Gansler released a statement clarifying the comments but did not apologize.
“I have the utmost respect for his 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 website that denied Marylanders access to health care and cost taxpayers nearly $200 million,” Gansler said.