Doug Gansler’s “Worst Week”

October 25, 2013
Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler went to a college party, held a press conference, and won himself The Worst Week in Washington. (The Washington Post)

 

Call this one Doug Gansler and the case of the red Solo cup.

This is a red Solo cup. Miami New Times
This is a red Solo cup. Miami New Times

Gansler, the Maryland attorney general and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014, and the Solo cup, the preferred drinking vessel of college students everywhere, collided in the most politically awkward way possible this week when the Baltimore Sun obtained a photo of the state's top cop at a "beach week" party in Delaware.

Gansler was there to find his son to discuss when the family would leave the First State the following morning. Despite obvious signs of drinking, Gansler insisted -- in a two hour(!) interview with the Sun -- that he was unaware of any illegal activities. "Assume for purposes of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party," Gansler said. "How is that relevant to me? … The question is, do I have any moral authority over other people's children at beach week in another state? I say no."

Wrong answer -- particularly when you're the state's top law enforcement official and running to be the next governor.

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Gansler held a news conference to explain himself, but, in a remarkable feat of whatever-the-opposite-of-political-skill-is, he managed to make things worse.

"There could be Kool-Aid in the red cups, but there's probably beer in the red cups," he said. (OH YEAH!!!) "I wasn't the chaperone. I didn't buy the beer," he said. "This is crazy, in terms of loud music, but it wasn't like things were being broken," he said. "We're in it; I'm going to win it. People are looking for someone with the character, the judgment...."  (Yes, he really said that last one.)

The red Solo cup story came just 10 days after Gansler was besieged by reports that he had urged members of his security detail to speed and run lights. Earlier this week, he paid a 16-month-old speeding ticket on his official state vehicle that he had previously said he had never received. Oomph.

Doug Gansler, for forgetting that the (iPhone and speed) camera is always on, you had the "Worst Week in Washington." Congrats, or something.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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Sean Sullivan · October 25, 2013