UPPER MARLBORO -- In dueling news conferences yesterday, Democrat Parris N. Glendening and Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey pointedly attacked each other's record as the race for governor grew nastier.
Mrs. Sauerbrey called Mr. Glendening, the Prince George's County executive, "a tax fanatic who never met a tax he didn't like" and offered 10 examples of local or state taxes he either "supported or embraced."
Meanwhile, Mr. Glendening used a news conference announcing his endorsement by the 14,000-member Maryland Fraternal Order of Police to paint Mrs. Sauerbrey, the Maryland House minority leader, as being soft on crime.
He pointed to her votes against measures to ban assault weapons and to a 1992 budget-cutting proposal by Mrs. Sauerbrey that included cuts to public safety programs.
"We have a considerable difference here when someone says you have the right to own an AK-47 or a 'Street-sweeper' and weapons of this type," Mr. Glendening said. "How can you possibly say you are for law and order, you are for safe communities?"
His comments echoed the points made in a television ad barrage the Glendening campaign began airing this week. The ads suggest Mrs. Sauerbrey is eager to slash spending on police and prisons and is out of touch with the Maryland electorate because of her votes against abortion rights legislation.
Mrs. Sauerbrey came to Mr. Glendening's political back yard -- just outside the Prince George's County government office building -- to criticize his television spots as "distortions, innuendoes and outright lies."
Defending her proposed cuts to the public safety budget during thestate's fiscal crunch of 1992, she said much of the money was to staff a prison that was not scheduled to open until the next year.
Mrs. Sauerbrey also noted that the budget eventually passed that year by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly included cuts to public safety spending that went even deeper than her proposal.
Mr. Glendening later said that did not matter, that if he had been governor, the state would never have found itself in such a fiscal mess.
"I disagree with both of them," he said of the GOP and Democratic budget plans in 1992. "I believe that what we should have is good management to reduce the cost of government and not have government by crisis.
"Because government had been allowed to drift without that very tight management, we ended up in a crisis situation," Mr. Glendening said.
He also criticized Mrs. Sauerbrey for being from a farm in Northern Baltimore County, suggesting that her life in such an VTC affluent area kept her far removed from much of the state's electorate.
"She does not understand what an urban setting is about," he said.
He also derided Mrs. Sauerbrey as a "back-bencher" in the legislature who "never had a staff of more than two people."
Mr. Glendening said that he, on the other hand, had run a county "larger than six states" for 12 years and been overwhelmingly re-elected twice.