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E-mails: Mistakenly released negative jobs report a public relations 'fiasco' for Md. governor's office

Asked in the driveway outside the West Wing whether he had ordered the removal of the report, O'Malley said, "No, I wasn't aware of it. I'm not sure I'd even seen the report." O'Malley suggested that the report was part of the routine internal dialogue within DLLR, which publishes monthly job statistics.

"There are a lot of analysts and internal people at DLLR who pore over the monthly job reports and ask one another what they mean and offer their perspectives and opinions, and this appears to be one of those perspectives and one of those opinions," he said.

O'Malley said any suggestion that he had the report pulled is an example of Ehrlich's campaign "always fouling and always crying foul."

DLLR spokesman Bernie Kohn said the report was removed not because of its negative economic forecast, but because it had never been intended for public dissemination.

"These discussion points are simply a means to launch a discussion about how the numbers should be presented; that's a discussion that takes place several days before the press release is put out," Kohn said. "We were not playing with the numbers. The numbers never changed."

The e-mails show that Kohn warned O'Malley's office "not to make much hay out" of Maryland's slight uptick in job creation in July in case final adjustments could actually show employment in the state had dropped.

On the same day the report was posted online, O'Malley released a statement touting the state's fifth consecutive month of job growth and characterized Maryland's employment gains as "triple the national job growth rate."

A subseqent loss of nearly 6,000 jobs in Maryland in August has cut that to twice the national rate.

Senate Minority Leader Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) criticized O'Malley for a speech he gave to Maryland county leaders on Aug. 21, the day after the jobs report was pulled from the state Web site.

In the speech at a conference in Ocean City, O'Malley said the state had added about 40,000 jobs between January and July, the best such stretch since 1999, he said.

"Doesn't that feel good to say?" O'Malley playfully asked the crowd.

In fact, O'Malley knew then that the economy was "stalling," Kittleman said. "I'm mad as a Maryland citizen that my government is hiding things from me to promote a political candidate."

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