Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. defended yesterday the appearance of his wife and son in television and radio advertisements promoting tax-free shopping after Democrats criticized their taking part in the ads in an election year.
Ehrlich, emphasizing that his wife, Kendel, has done similar ads before and was approached by a private group that picked up the cost, said the criticism was politically motivated.
"It's pretty clear what this stuff is all about," he said on WBAL-AM's Stateline with Governor Ehrlich. "It's a politicized year. Everything I do is viewed through the prism of politics."
Kendel Ehrlich has been active in the governor's campaign, speaking out on issues at political gatherings.
The ads, which are scheduled to run soon, will call attention to tax-free shopping for some clothing items purchased Aug. 23 through Aug. 27. The decision to use Kendel and Drew Ehrlich in the ad was made by the Maryland Retailers Association, which picked up the cost of producing the radio advertisement. WMAR-TV produced the television advertisement at no cost to the state.
Terry Lierman, chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, said yesterday the ads are "just a way of getting the special interests to foot the bill for what Ehrlich has forced the taxpayers to fund for the last four years."
Lierman asked Maryland broadcasters Thursday not to use the public service spots, saying they are "extremely controversial, given the highly charged campaign season in which they will run."
Staff and wire reports