Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler, a Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland, has a public relations problem on his hands after he suggested his opponent, an Iraq war veteran, isn’t qualified for a “real job.”
Speaking at an event organized by the Tech Council of Maryland on Monday, Gansler took aim at Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, his opponent for the Democratic nomination, when asked about Maryland’s state-run health insurance exchange.
“I’m running against somebody who has never managed anybody, never run anything, his ads are about how he’s a lawyer in Iraq, and that’s all fine and good but this is a real job,” Gansler said.
He touted his leadership skills and experience working with budgets when explaining why he is the better candidate to tackle the state’s issues.
His comments, in full context, were captured on video:
“Gansler was referencing a recent campaign ad by Brown, in which he talks about serving in the Army ROTC, the Army Reserves and being deployed to Iraq,” Fox News reports.
Gansler backtracked and attempted to clarify his remarks in a statement, saying “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,” he added.
Brown responded to the attack on Tuesday, calling the statement “reckless and irresponsible.” He is not, however, demanding an apology.
"Doug Gansler has just again exhibited a lack of judgment, in this case his treatment of military veterans," Brown said. "Each of them has a real job.”
Brown and Gansler will duel in the June 24 Democratic primary.