Campaigns these days tend to be more nimble than before so it’s not surprising that at least one of the Democratic candidates for governor was going to chastise Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown for missing a debate this week.
And that’s exactly what Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler did Thursday morning.
The 30-second spot which is scheduled to begin airing today in the Baltimore market features clips from the debate held Tuesday at Fox 45 in Baltimore including shots of the empty lectern meant for Brown.
“If Anthony Brown won’t even show up in Baltimore to debate, how can we trust him to stand up for us as governor?” asks the commercial.
Richard Vatz, a professor of rhetoric at Towson University, said it was “irresponsible and politically cowardly for (Brown) to miss the debate” but he also panned the Gansler commercial as “a bad ad.”
“This seems to be an unfocused criticism with a meaningless question regarding his not standing up” as Governor,” Vatz said. “It misses an opportunity to make a specific, relevant point: Is this responsible democratic—small d—campaigning? Is (Brown) afraid to confront the issues.”
The Gansler ad follows a post on Craigslist that questions Brown’s decision to skip what was expected to be the second debate between the three major candidates.
Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur appeared at the station for what will be the only televised debate produced in Baltimore. Brown skipped the debate and the station opted to leave a lectern bearing Browns name in between the other two participating candidates.
Maryland Public Television will host a debate featuring Brown, Gansler and Mizeur live in the station’s Owings Mills studios on June 2.
Brown, for his part, said early in the month that he would not attend the debate and a campaign manager said that Gansler and Mizeur misunderstood an agreement between the three campaigns.
“Regrettably the Gansler and Mizeur campaigns have a strange view of history,” said Justin Schall, earlier this month. “They agreed to three debates and we have scheduled three debates. If they now want to change the agreement they should at least have the courtesy to be up front about it and explain which of the three debates on the current schedule they want to cancel: NBC4, Larry Young, or Maryland Public TV— to replace with a Fox Sinclair debate. The Brown-Ulman campaign will continue to honor its commitment to the three original organizations to host the three debates.”
Brown was in Baltimore, not far from the Fox 45 studios, attending what appeared to be a hastily arranged community forum.