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Gansler criticizes Brown on leadership, service in Iraq

UPDATED (5:22 p.m.)—A political action committee that endorsed Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for Maryland governor is demanding an apology from a Democratic opponent over comments made about Brown’s service in Iraq.

Attorney General Doug Gansler told a gathering of the Tech Council of Maryland in Bethesda that Brown’s leadership skills were questionable after being asked a question about what could be learned from the roll out of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

“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.

Brown, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, was deployed in 2004 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served as a senior consultant to the Iraqi government.

A spokesman for the Brown campaign was not immediately available. Per the rules, Gansler and the other candidates were allowed to speak for 15 minutes without the other candidates being present in the room.

Jon Soltz, chair of, a political action committee that endorsed Brown for governor, called the statement “slime ball politics.”

“Doug Gansler needs to stop smearing those of us who served in Iraq as not having had a ‘real job,'” Soltz said in a statement. “It’s a horrible insult to all those men and women who put their lives on the line, and especially those who died, in service to this country.  Additionally, Mr. Gansler, if he chooses to attack an Iraq War veteran, ought to at least admit that the person he is attacking has been serving as Maryland’s lieutenant governor.  This kind of slime ball politics is what turns people off to our democratic process, so Mr. Gansler is doing no favors for Maryland or our democratic electoral system by playing in the gutter like this.”

Soltz went on to demand an apology from Gansler.

In an emailed statement late Monday afternoon, Gansler said: “I want to clarify comments I made in the middle of a forum today about Maryland’s failed rollout of the Affordable Care Act and Lt. Gov. Brown’s leadership. 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.”


  1. Your comments about Lt. Governor Brown are despicable. You sound like the mud-slinging, racist Republicans in this country who are tearing it apart. Shame on you. Brown is running a clean campaign and you are doing just the opposite. I was truly for you until that comment about Brown. I truly thought you were the one I would vote for. Have you forgotten about your under-age drinking party scandal? Brown could go there but he hasn’t. Again, shame on you!!!!

  2. Setting aside the instinct to just be plain offended, I am confused as to the logic of AG Gansler’s critique; being a government lawyer in Iraq is not a real job, but being a government lawyer in Maryland is?

  3. As a ,matter of a fact, Gansler has proposed more specific defense related, manufacturing related, NSA related, cybersecurity related, biotech-reerlated real jobs ane ways to aggressively court those jobs – which O’Malley and Brown have had 8 years to do and have not done at all (in fact, their tax tax tax policies have driven all of those defense related, returning vet related industries from the state like the bleeding heart virus). Gansler’s father Jack Gansler was undersecretary of defense for Clinton and is one of the most respected executive experts on procurement, defense production, and public policy in the nation among both Republican and Democratic circles – he is frequently photographed sitting betweeen the Bush and Clinton Secretaries of Defense. So just a dang minute here!

    And Gansler did not say anything disrepectful per se about vets. When your opponent is holding his Harvard degree and saying look I am an attorney and I was a colonel in Iraq, therefore I am more qualified than you to be Governor, it is fair play to ask “oh yeah, just exactly what did you do as Col in Iraq?” He was a lawyer. Well in my book a guy who spends his entire childhood talking to his dad about defense, defense procurement, and public policy matters and whose Dad happens to be a high ranking member of the President’s cabinet as well as the Defense Department happens to have as much right to an opinion on these issues as a guy who served in Iraq writing legal briefs. And who has done absolutely nothing for vets or to create jobs for the defense industry or to help transitioning vets or even to take the initiative on his own to actually do anything that is his own idea in 8 years time. Not one thing. And the one thing he did do – create the health exchange – cost at least 10x what it was budgeted to cost, was a complete failure at enrolling eligible people, lined Brown’s campaign pockets (what STINKS STINKS), has resulted in both a State and Federal audit – the results of wich will not be complted before the primary (how convenient), and the entire progrram Brown spent all that money on was scrapped in favor of hiring the firm that created the CT Health Exchange which came in under budget and enrolled more people than expected and worked without a glitch. Hmpf.

    And Gansler has issued pages and pages and pages of specific proposals of how to aggressively go after these good paying jobs for returning vets (and also training for those in ROTC – and jobs and training for all of Maryland). Whereas his opponent – just like O’Malley in the debates with Huckabee – (go to and check 2012 presidential debates) is lying about the true number of jobs created. Likewise they are lying about the true unemployment figures by just dropping everyone who is marginalized — like I said before, what STINKS STINKS.

    Now who do we really neeed for a leader? The guy who lies to us? Or the guy who has the balls to tell us the truth and who has some real ideas about how to really bring industry and jobs back to this State? Or would you all rather just be flipping burgers and cleaning carpets for the rest of your lives. That is if you are lucky enough to find a good job doing that. Steelworrkers are being laid off with no alternatives – what they are supposed to feed their families and survive on what they make as a gas station attendant? Replacing good paying “real” jobs with poor paying service industry jobs is not creating more jobs. It is utterly intellectually dishonest.

    Brown has had his chance. He has done nothing. Gansler has been a very aggressive and assertive Attorney General whether you like the fact that he speaks his mind and has some guts or not. Gansler is exactly what we need. Someowhenne with some real courage who isn’t going to lie to you and tell you everything is hunky dory when you can telll just from the number of businesses in your neighborhood that have boarded up and homes that are vacant that this rosey Brown-O[‘Malley story is bs.

    Gansler has nothing but respect for veterans and for our men in service. That is why he wants to put them to work. To make sure they are taken care of. Just like he wants to make sure the whole State is taken care of — he doesn’t want ot just make some fancy schmancy speech.

    You guys ought to wake up and smell the coffee.

    What he actually said was now with respect to Brown’s military service and all of that, THAT’S FINE, but for this job you need someone up to a real job. And the simple truth of the matter is that being a lawer who is a Colonel doesn’t prepare you to lead as Governor. Nor does being Lieut Governor. Brown hasn’t done one single thing of his own initiative. What kind of champion is that? He is a follower. Not a leader.

    Times are tough. We need a real fighter. You might not like what he is saying because of how you are hearing it but I will tell you this: DOUG IS ONE HECK OF A FIGHTER. And this fight has just begun. Ask Brown what he has done for vets in the past 8 years? What HE himself specifcallly Anthony Brown has done? Nothing.

    Give me a break. And you’d even think of voting for this Brown clown?