Texas Sen. Phil Gramm took another quick campaign spin through the Baltimore area yesterday, in an effort to keep his name before voters and lock up more Republican support in Maryland for his presidential bid.
Speaking to a group of unionized factory workers -- at the only one of three campaign stops open to the press yesterday -- Mr. Gramm continued to pitch the need for scaling back the size of government, reducing the federal budget and cutting the capital gains tax rate.
"I want to let people who earn money keep more of it to invest more of it in their own family, in their own business and in their own future," Mr. Gramm told about 50 employees of Dovco Industrial Fabricators Inc. in South Baltimore.
"I think too many decisions are being made in Washington, and I don't think enough decisions are being made around your kitchen table," he said.
He continued touting his Senate budget amendment, one that would slash $184 billion from the budget, similar to a measure approved this year by the House. He also continued his attacks on President Clinton's defense of traditional Democratic programs.
Former Del. Ellen R. Sauerbrey, Mr. Gramm's statewide campaign chairwoman, introduced the candidate, calling him "consistent, courageous and committed" to reducing the size of government and putting more money in the pockets of taxpayers.
Mrs. Sauerbrey, who came within 5,993 votes of becoming Maryland's first Republican governor since 1966, has corralled many of the state GOP's elected officials for the Gramm camp and is actively working her grass-roots supporters.
She also is capitalizing on her business contacts for Mr. Gramm.
For instance, Dovco is a subsidiary of Environmental Elements Corp., whose chairman is Richard E. Hug, one of her bigger supporters in the business community.
Mr. Gramm and his entourage later attended a reception given by Mr. Hug at the Environmental Elements headquarters in Baltimore.
Earlier in the afternoon, the senator, who has a vacation home on the Eastern Shore, met in Owings Mills with medical professionals at SurgiCenter of Baltimore, the largest same-day surgery center in the state.
Mr. Gramm has gotten a jump on endorsements and visibility in Maryland, which has an early primary March 5. Yet the most recent poll of likely Republican voters in the state's primary showed that Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas, the GOP front-runner nationally, led Mr. Gramm by 20 points.