- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 28, 2002

WOODLAWN, Md. Hours after their contentious gubernatorial debate, Republican Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Democratic Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend were at it again yesterday.
Mr. Ehrlich characterized Mrs. Townsend's performance as a display of anger by a candidate who knows her campaign is in a state of meltdown. Mrs. Townsend said during the 90-minute debate Thursday night that Mr. Ehrlich was condescending and disrespectful.
The candidates were interviewed after making separate appearances at a forum sponsored by the Maryland Mental Health Coalition.
Asked as she left the hall how she felt about Mr. Ehrlich repeatedly referring to her as ma'am during the debate at Morgan State University, Mrs. Townsend said, "I thought it was outrageous. I thought he was condescending."
Mrs. Townsend, who was interviewed first, said, "I thought he talked down to me. I didn't think he treated his opponent, me, with respect."
Mr. Ehrlich said he was brought up to use "sir" when addressing men and "ma'am" when addressing women. "It's a sign of respect in my family great respect. My personal opinion is that's a little bit hypersensitive," he said.
Mr. Ehrlich said if it offends the lieutenant governor he will think of another way to address her if another debate is held.
Mrs. Townsend came out swinging at the debate, repeatedly attacking Mr. Ehrlich's voting record as a state legislator and member of Congress.
"You saw the anger," Mr. Ehrlich said. "It's attack, attack, demagogue, demagogue."
Mr. Ehrlich said his Democratic opponent's campaign is in a state of meltdown and she knows it.
"They are fearful. They are upset. Their money is drying up," the congressman said.
Mrs. Townsend said she was aggressive, not angry.
"You have to be aggressive," she said. "People saw that KKT knows the issues. They saw last night the fighting Kathleen."
Both candidates said they were pleased with their performances.
"I was energized. I was excited," Mrs. Townsend said. "I got my message out, what I'm fighting for."
Mr. Ehrlich had his supporters, but the crowd was mostly in Mrs. Townsend's corner. Mr. Ehrlich was booed several times, and he said Mrs. Townsend was responsible.
"Her words were meant to elicit that response," he said.
Both said they would like another debate, but a date, location and format have not been agreed upon.
Mrs. Townsend suggested that the next debate should not take place before an audience, but Mr. Ehrlich said an audience adds flavor to the debates.
"Everybody brings their rooters. Everybody screams and yells," he said.
Peter Hamm, a spokesman for the Townsend campaign, said there should be a debate between the two lieutenant governor candidates Democrat Charles Larson and Republican Michael Steele and it should be held quickly, perhaps as early as next week.
Paul Schurick, Mr. Ehrlich's spokesman, said Mr. Steele is ready to debate, but he wasn't sure anybody would televise a debate between candidates for lieutenant governor.

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