Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown fired back at comments made Monday about his military service made by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.
Gansler, who is facing Brown in the Democratic primary for governor, referenced Brown’s military service in Iraq during a candidate’s forum with the Tech Council of Maryland in Bethesda.
“Anthony Brown is a colonel in the United States Army Reserve, he’s served for nearly 30 years, and received the Bronze Star for his tour of duty in the Iraq War– he is honored to wear the uniform and we will let his record of service speak for itself,” Justin Schall, a spokesman for the Brown campaign said in an emailed statement.
Gansler came under fire for an answer given in response to a question about lessons that could be learned from the rollout of the Affordable Care Act—an issue Gansler has repeatedly criticized Brown on related to his involvement with the state health exchange website.
“I’m running against somebody who has never managed anybody, never run anything,” Gansler said. “You know, his ads are about how he was a lawyer in Iraq and that’s all fine and good but this is a real job. We need to have somebody who actually has leadership experience and done budgets.”
Gansler went on to contrast his work as both Montgomery County state’s attorney and his current position with Brown’s resume.
“The reason why that is so important is that the one thing he did, it was a debacle,” Gansler said, referring to the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange website.
Gansler’s campaign later issued a clarifying statement saying he had the ‘utmost respect “for Brown’s military career but that his answer was meant to highlight that Brown’s “only attempt to lead as lieutenant governor was the unmitigated debacle of the health exchange.”
As part of the response to Gansler’s comment, the emailed statement from the Brown campaign also included a note about an additional comment from “a Republican who doesn’t support us reached out with this statement if you’d like to use it.”
The statement from Del. Robert A. Costa, R-Anne Arundel said:
“Lt. Gov. Brown and I may belong to different political parties but as a fellow soldier, I appreciate his service to our country in Baghdad during wartime. To say it’s anything less than a ‘real job’ is insulting.”
In a television interview late Monday, Brown told WBAL television that Gansler’s comments were “reckless and irresponsible.”
“They demonstrate a disrespect and disservice to this nation’s veterans and the men and women who serve in the military,” Brown told the station Monday night before a candidate’s forum at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. “You know, there are hundreds of thousands of men and women serving in the military in different locations and I can assure Doug Gansler that each of them has a real job.”