The thing that really rankles Baltimore City Council President Walter F. Orlinsky is the attention his opponents in Maryland's gubernatorial sweepstakes get for what he calls "TV shownmanship and low-level name calling."
So Orlinsky called a news conference here yesterday to set the record straight: "How much longer are Burch and Venetoulis and Lee going to engage in this childish, idiotic demonstration of stupidity?" he asked of three of his opponents.
Then, without missing a beat, his eyes twinkling and his brown moustache wagging, Orlinsky looked squarely into the television eye and conceded, "This just proves I'm not bad at it either."
For the past three weeks, the candidates named by Orlinsky - Attorney General Francis (Bill) Burch, Acting Gov. Blair Lee III and Baltimore County Executive Theodore G. Venetoulis - have been heating up the campaign with occasional insults.
Burch has criticized Lee and Venetoulis for accepting the campaign support of "political bosses," while Lee has accused Burch of resorting to "bush league" tactics. Meanwhile, Venetoulis has accused Lee of making "political deals."
Scoffing at the charges and their dramatization - Venetoulis released his campaign financing report on the State House steps in Annapolis and Burch denounced "bossim" in front of an old Baltimore political clubhouse - Orlinsky called for "a [WORD ILLEGIBLE] on this nonsense."
"Politics cannot and should not be a contest between media advisors, buzz words andother such as gimmicks," said the 40-year-old candidate, and urged his opponents to "concentrate on the issues," such as utility rates, the environment and taxes.
After the press conference, Orlinsky was asked whether denunciation of his opponents for "name-calling' was itself a form of name calling and whether his call for a moratorium was a gimmick to attract attention.
"Since they gave me the opening," said Orlinsky, smiling, "I was more than happy to take advantage of it."