State Roundup, October 8, 2010

OBAMA VISITS: President Barack Obama exhorted a sea of mostly black, young supporters at Bowie State University in Prince George’s County – who broke into chants of “Obama!” and “We’ve got your back!” – not to make him “look bad” by failing to turn out to re-elect Gov. Martin O’Malley and a slate of Maryland Democrats to Congress, writes Aaron Davis of the Washington Post. Take a look at the Post’s photo gallery here.

The Baltimore Sun has video of the rally, then scroll down to find the story by Annie Linskey and Julie Bykowicz, who call Obama “cheerleader in chief.” Joseph Weber of the Washington Times reports that Obama is stumping for O’Malley at a time when he appears to be pulling ahead of rival Bob Ehrlich in the race for governor. Thursday’s rally also showed how much Maryland means to the president, writes the Gazette’s Andrew Ujifusa. Pat Warren of WJZ-TV asks whether the president’s support can help Democrats this year. Post staff blogs about the visit here. The response that Obama received would make you think it was the presidential election, John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports.

The folks that the Sun’s Annie Linskey blogs about say that they the Tea Partiers have competition. Bykowicz spoke with the politicians at the rally. Scott Dance was in attendance for the Baltimore Business Journal. And Hayley Peterson reports the story for the Washington Examiner. Here’s the Associated Press story in the Daily Record.

FREE TO PRAISE OBAMA: Where O’Malley goes, Obama accolades often flow, without worrying about being slammed by his Republican opponent, writes Aaron Davis and John Wagner of the Post.

100 WOMEN: While O’Malley appeared with Obama in Prince George’s County, Ehrlich held court with more than 100 women in Montgomery County, at a luncheon on the sun-splashed patio of the Old Angler’s Inn in Potomac, writes The Post’s Ann Marimow.

SCHOOL BUILDING: Adam Pagnucco of Maryland Politics Watch offers the ABC video of the rally, but scroll down instead for his take on how O’Malley and Ehrlich handle the issue of school construction.

MAGIC NUMBER: Former Republican gov Bob Ehrlich says he needs 30 percent of the Democratic vote in order to win, writes The Gazette’s Alan Brody.

EHRLICH ON DBED: Ehrlich tells a meeting of Gazette editors that the Department of Business and Economic Development is wasteful and should be more responsive to business, reports The Gazette’s Kevin James Shay.

PURPLE LINE: Maryland voters’ choice of governor could determine whether passengers on a future Purple Line will ride trains or buses, a decision that comes at a critical time for a project about to begin competing for federal money, writes Katherine Shaver of the Post. Gazette columnist Allan Lichtman takes a close look at the proposals to build the Purple Line — and finds that an investment in bus transit might be the best option.

DEBATE STRATEGY: Political observers tell the Gazette’s Alan Brody that Monday’s gubernatorial debate will belong to the candidate who can best lay out a vision for the next four years.

PRESS PRIORITY: Mark Newgent of Red Maryland blogs about the press’s priorities in the governor’s race.

TRUTH ON JOBS: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar writes that both O’Malley and Ehrlich have campaigned on creating more jobs — or keeping jobs in Maryland — when neither has much influence on the forces that are influencing employment numbers.

CLINTON FOR KRATOVIL: Former President Bill Clinton will headline a fundraiser for Democratic U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil of Maryland on Sunday in D.C., Paul West blogs for the Sun.

NO-SHOWS?: Neither O’Malley nor Ehrlich are sure if they will make it to a Montgomery County League of Women Voters forum later this month. Representatives from both campaigns tell Sarah Breitenbach of The Gazette that they would like to attend, but scheduling is difficult.

25 DAYS OUT: Gazette columnist Blair Lee analyzes polls, strategies and media coverage of the gubernatorial election, with just over three weeks remaining before voters cast their ballots.

MIKULSKI-WARGOTZ: The Carroll County Times runs an Associated Press report on U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and her opponent Eric Wargotz, who calls the incumbent “completely out of touch with … Maryland.”

TUESDAY’S THE DAY: Among the Annapolis Capital’s Political Notes is a reminder that Tuesday is the last day to register to vote, change your party affiliation or update your address with the county Board of Elections.

REGISTRATION DRIVE: A student at Carroll Community College has mounted a registration drive to get more young people to vote, Adam Bednar of the Carroll County Times reports.

JOE INVITES KEN: Baltimore County Councilman Joe Bartenfelder, who lost the race for the Democratic nomination for county executive to Kevin Kamenetz, has apparently invited the Republican nominee — Ken Holt — to attend a gathering for his supporters on Sunday in Kingsville. So writes Arthur Hirsch for the Sun.

UNION FOR KAMENETZ: The Baltimore County Professional Fire Fighters union announced its endorsement of Kamenetz for Baltimore County executive, writes Jessica Anderson of the Sun.

DISTRICT 3: Republican state Sen. Alexander Mooney is in danger of losing his seat to Democrat Ron Young — due in part to the changing demographics and large increases in Democrats in the district, writes The Gazette’s Sarah Breitenbach.

DJS FAIL: Two reports released in the past 24 hours blast the state Department of Juvenile Services for lapses in everything from facility security to medical documentation. The criticism comes less than a month before Election Day, when Democratic Gov. O’Malley faces his Republican predecessor, Bob Ehrlich, Julie Bykowicz blogs for the Sun. Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.Com wrote about the medical documentation report yesterday. Find that again here. Peter Hermann and Liz Kay give details on the facility security report, including a scathing review of Cheltenham, where a teacher was murdered. Failure to follow security protocols and a lack of security equipment at the Cheltenham Youth Facility created a dangerous environment at the time of the murder in February, reports The Gazette’s Zoe Tillman.

Kelly McPherson of WJZ-TV also breaks down both reports’ findings. In a Second Opinion piece for the Sun, Andy Green says that neither O’Malley nor Ehrlich has stepped up to fixed the Department of Juvenile Services.

WARRIOR TO WORKER: A new state program will have state agencies actively looking for and recruiting veterans to fill vacancies, reports The Gazette’s Jeff Newman. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, a veteran himself, announced the program at the American Legion Post in Plata.

MORTGAGE FREEZE: The president of the Maryland Mortgage Bankers Association tells The Gazette’s C. Benjamin Ford that the proposed 60 day freeze on foreclosures could be detrimental to the housing industry by destabilizing it.

FUNERAL PROTESTS: Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler writes in a Post op-ed piece that funeral protests should not be considered protected speech. Legal experts are split on whether the speech from religious protesters outside of a Westminster soldier’s funeral was protected by the First Amendment, reports The Gazette’s Jeff Newman.

GAZETTE NOTEBOOK: This week’s collection of tales from reporters’ notes include no “essential” Dem races in the General Assembly, Van Hollen to show his poetic side, Howard County Councilwoman Jen Terrasa experiences an injury from door knocking, Bill Clinton hosting several fundraisers for Dem candidates this weekend.

PENSION CHANGES: Len Lazarick of writes that a national pension expert told the new pension panel that more states enacted major legislation changing retirement benefits for their employees in 2010 than in any year in recent times. The Gazette’s Alan Brody takes a look at the makeup and mission of members of the work group.

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