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Brown calls Gansler comments 'reckless'

Making a rare direct reply Tuesday to an attack by a rival candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown labeled "reckless and irresponsible" remarks by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler suggesting that Brown's service in Iraq was not a real job. Meanwhile, a veterans organization stepped up its attack on Gansler over the comments, accusing him of "swiftboating" the lieutenant governor.

Brown went on the "C4 Show" on WBAL radio Tuesday to comment on Gansler's campaign volley a day earlier, in which he questioned whether Brown has the experience to be governor.

"I'm running against somebody who has never managed anything, never run anything," Gansler told a candidate forum in Bethesda. "There are ads about how he was a lawyer in Iraq — and that's all well and good — but this is a real job."

Gansler's comments about his fellow Democrat drew an outraged response Monday from the veterans' group VoteVets.org, whose chairman called the remarks "a horrible insult" to all veterans. On Tuesday, VoteVets chairman Jon Soltz sent out an email comparing Gansler's comments to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's war record in 2004. Soltz urged veterans to express their outrage by donating $10 to Brown's campaign.

The attorney general issued a clarification of his remarks Monday, expressing his "utmost respect" for Brown's military service, but did not apologize.

Brown told radio host Clarence Mitchell IV on Tuesday that he is not seeking an apology from Gansler, saying that "this isn't about me."

"Doug Gansler has just again exhibited a lack of judgment, in this case his treatment of military veterans," Brown said. He noted that hundreds of thousands of Americans are deployed on military service around the world.

"Each of them has a real job," Brown said.

A Gansler campaign spokeswoman declined Tuesday to add anything to the candidate's earlier statement.

In previous cases in which Gansler has made controversial remarks, Brown has tended to let others reply. In this case, Brown himself fired back.

Brown and Gansler are competing in the June 24 Democratic primary along with Del. Heather R. Mizeur of Montgomery County.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com

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