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Bruchey went over the line with gibe at Trump's stutter

March 22, 2005

Angered by what he felt were political dirty tricks in the closing days of the Hagerstown primary campaign, former Mayor Robert Bruchey last week decided to mount a write-in campaign.

Such efforts are seldom successful, but that's his right. But when Bruchey posted a statement on his Web site making fun of Republican opponent Richard Trump's stutter, he went too far. If his campaign hopes to have any credibility, Bruchey needs to apologize now.

It's no excuse, but Bruchey was upset by a flier sent out in the closing days of the campaign by the Friends of Hagerstown Political Action Committee.

The flier featured a photograph of Bruchey shaking hands with Parris Glendening, the former Democratic governor who is greatly disliked by many Republicans.

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What the flier didn't say was that it was Glendening - after some strong lobbying by Bruchey - who decided that the University System of Maryland's new campus would be located downtown, in a building renovated with $14 million in state money.

Why deal with Glendening? Because there was no alternative. Until Gov. Robert Ehrlich was elected, there had not been a Republican governor of the state since Spiro Agnew was elected in 1967.

Trump attempted to distance himself from the flier last week, saying he hadn't seen it before it was mailed out.

That's no way to run a campaign. Trump needs to tell anyone who is producing mailers, posters or fliers that he needs to see and approve anything before it's used.

Bruchey's offense was far worse, but it's worth noting that the former mayor didn't start this trip into the mud. And as we've seen in other campaigns, once it starts, it's hard to put on the brakes.

The worst thing about these incidents is not the damage done to either candidate, but the fact that the voters aren't learning anything about what either would do in the next term.

Instead of political tricks and name-calling, both candidates need to pledge that from this day forward their campaigns will be based on the issues and their plans for the next four years.

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