Helen Delich Bentley may be out of Congress, but in a new stint as radio pitchwoman she still lets the Democrats feel the sharp edge of her tongue.

In a radio ad for the plush Towson Town Center mall, the former GOP representative says, "Whenever I go there, it brings out the Democrat in me; I spend, spend, spend."

How did Towson Town Center get Mrs. Bentley to sign up for a celebrity endorsement?

"We asked her," said Chris Schardt, the mall manager.

"That's true," Mrs. Bentley said, adding with a hearty laugh, "They were constituents, and you get used to doing things for your constituents. Besides, I'm there all the time." Mrs. Bentley said her $200 fee will go to charity.

A Lutherville resident who gave up her 2nd District seat last year in an unsuccessful bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Mrs. Bentley said the commercial was taped several months ago. It began running Wednesday.

The former congresswoman and U.S. maritime commissioner, who is always in a hurry, said the recording session was no exception. "They did the script and I made a couple of changes. It was scheduled to take a couple of hours, but we did it in 45 minutes."

Mrs. Bentley's radio spots are airing just as the talk show of her GOP rival is being ended by the baseball season after a seven-week run.

Former Del. Ellen R. Sauerbrey, who defeated Mrs. Bentley in the September primary but lost the general election by almost 6,000 votes, has had an evening talk show on WBAL. But she will be replaced next week by Jon Miller, the voice of the Orioles, as the station gives up its nighttime political format for sports.

Mr. Schardt said response to Mrs. Bentley's ad has been positive. He said the idea was hatched even before a popular Super Bowl commercial that featured two other 1994 losers -- former New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo and former Texas Gov. Ann W. Richards. It just took longer to get Mrs. Bentley's commercial on the air.

She said one of her favorite, albeit bittersweet, lines from the commercial occurs when a sales clerk asks, "May I help you?" The former congresswoman replies, sadly, "It's too late, honey."

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