From The Washington Post
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr . (R) made a guest appearance Monday at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington’s summer lecture series. Participants arrived at the Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville to learn the “Secrets of Smart Investing” from James Glassman . But first they were treated to brief opening remarks by Ehrlich, who expressed his support for Israel at a time when the Jewish community is anxiously following news from the Middle East.
Ron Halber , executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, said many in the audience were thrilled to see the governor. There was polite applause and people were respectful and appreciative, he said. But Halber acknowledged there was some dissatisfaction in the audience, including from the man who underwrites the symposium in honor of his parents.
“We hope that he will see past this incident, which obviously caused him some discomfort,” Halber said.
A spokeswoman for the JCC declined to share the name of the donor or elaborate on the circumstances.
Not surprisingly, though, word of Ehrlich’s participation irritated supporters of Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley (D). They said the educational venue was inappropriate for a political appearance.
“We in the O’Malley campaign never would have thought of barging into an event like that and certainly not using support for Israel as a cynical strategy for gaining a partisan advantage,” said Arnold Gordon , a district coordinator for O’Malley’s campaign for governor.
To be clear, Ehrlich did not barge in. He was invited after his aides expressed interest in opportunities to speak to Jewish audiences, Halber said.
“Those who are automatically equating an appearance by the governor with an attempt of cynical political manipulation are just plain wrong, and it’s utter nonsense,” he said.
It looks like O’Malley’s campaign needs to get their facts straight. Are they really serious that if they had been invited that they would have turned down the opportunity to address this extremely influential bloc of voters? Who are they kidding?
In a tight election race Ehrlich scored a few points with a traditional Democratic voting bloc, and unlike President Bush’s recent appearance before the NAACP, he didn’t waste his time pandering to the audience.