In new TV ads, Gansler takes direct aim at Brown on Maryland’s health exchange woes

Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler pins blame on his Democratic rival Anthony G. Brown for the state’s botched rollout of its online health insurance exchange, citing a Washington Post editorial that calls the exchange a “management fiasco” and “hopelessly broken.” (YouTube: Doug Gansler)

The Maryland gubernatorial campaign of Douglas F. Gansler unveiled two new hard-hitting television ads Wednesday that blame his Democratic rival Anthony G. Brown for the state’s troubled rollout of its online health insurance exchange.

In one 30-second spot, Gansler, the state’s attorney general, is shown on a television set and tells viewers he is there shooting a commercial but has been distracted by a Washington Post editorial he is reading that calls the exchange a “management fiasco” and “hopelessly broken.”

“The Post says, in the interest of honest government, the public deserves ‘accountability for those who fouled up the rollout,’” Gansler tells viewers. “That would be Lieutenant Governor Brown, who was in charge of health care.”

Aides said the spot — which doesn’t mention that The Post editorial board has endorsed Brown in the June 24 primary — is set to air in Baltimore.

Another 30-second spot that has begun airing in both the Baltimore and Washington markets features voters criticizing Brown for having “dropped the ball” and “botched health care.”

Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Doug Gansler has a new ad showing voters criticizing his opponent Anthony Brown for having “dropped the ball” and “botched health care.” (Gansler for Governor)

An announcer also refers to Brown’s decision to back Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential primaries. “Brown opposed Barack Obama when he first ran for president, then mismanaged Obamacare in Maryland, costing people health care,” she says.

In a race that is rapidly turning negative, the Brown campaign responded Wednesday with a statement from campaign manager Justin Schall that referred to two controversies that dogged Gansler last fall as he launched his campaign.

“Whether it’s ... an underage drinking party or putting the public at risk by abusing his police detail, Doug Gansler’s reckless and irresponsible behavior proves that he doesn’t have the judgment to be governor – so it’s not surprising that Doug Gansler is now running desperate misleading attack ads,” Schall said.

Schall added that “nothing [Gansler] says can take away from the fact that Anthony Brown took action to get 340,000 Marylanders enrolled in quality health care.”

Later Wednesday, the Brown campaign unveiled a new ad of its own that said Gansler was “attacking Obamacare” and highlighted the enrollment numbers.

“When the Obamacare rollout faced challenges, Anthony Brown stepped up,’’ the 30-second ad says.

Brown, the front-runner in the race, was tasked by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) with overseeing the implementation of federal health care reforms in Maryland.

During the campaign, Brown has sought to distance himself from the day-to-day work of the exchange, which is governed by a board on which he does not sit.

During a debate on Monday, he said that in retrospect he should have insisted that he serve on the board of the exchange and perhaps served as its chairman.

Gansler has been critical of the exchange in previous TV ads, but the spots unveiled Wednesday are the first in which he criticizes Brown by name.

Last week, Gansler released an ad that hit Brown for skipping a televised debate in Baltimore in which he and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) participated.

Brown responded with a spot that criticizes Gansler’s support for cutting corporate income taxes in which one voter says he sounds like a Republican.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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