Brown ad offers feel-good generalities on economy

Democrat Anthony G. Brown's campaign calls his new 30-second television spot "Not About the Numbers." The ad lives up to its title by offering no statistics, just broad generalities about Maryland's economy.

What the ad says: The ad opens with a shot of Baltimore's Inner Harbor and a Hyattsville streetscape. Brown says, "This is a great state, and it should be great for every family, in every community." It shifts to a scene of Brown and a man who appears to be the owner of a bicycle shop. Brown says, "We need to invest in small businesses," without saying what that means. He goes on to say the state should "partner with the private sector to strengthen our infrastructure" and "attract and train Marylanders for jobs in growing industries."

The facts: Viewers who care enough to go to the website displayed on the screen would find Brown's statement about investing in small business reflects policy proposals in his campaign for governor, such as a $20 million tax credit for small manufacturers. The ad also suggests that Brown would follow up on the O'Malley administration's policy of seeking opportunities for public-private partnerships to build big projects. His support for worker training is reflected in his proposal to expand career and technical education programs by $100 million over four years.

Analysis: The ad is long on images and short on specifics, in keeping with the upbeat, feel-good content of previous Brown ads in the Democratic primary campaign. Its claim that Maryland is a "great state" creates a contrast with rival Douglas F. Gansler's ads focusing on Maryland's problems. In the face of criticism of Maryland's business climate, it conveys a message that Brown is pro-business. The spot is very much a front-runner's ad, giving the impression that at this point, Brown sees no need to go negative.


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