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WaPo's McCartney: Ehrlich Aide Indicted Over Robocalls Case, Allen Releases Economic Blueprint, MoCo Dealing With Traffic from U.S. Open

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Ehrlich aide indicted for several counts in robocalls case

A senior campaign official for Republican former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich has been indicted for several counts stemming from robocalls.

While it's not unusual to see these types of tricks during a campaign, what makes these robocalls unique is that they were anonymous, says McCartney.

"They appeared to be designed to suppress voter turnout," he says. "They came out in the last couple of hours of Election Day last year, and they were targeting democratic communities, especially African-American communities, and basically saying it’s over. The democratic Gov. O'Malley has been reelected; you don’t have to go vote. So they were basically trying to trick people in these democratic areas into not voting.”

McCarthy says what’s really unusual about this case is that it ended up in court. There was enough evidence for the Maryland state prosecutor to bring charges.

"Usually these things are forgotten about," he says. "They didn't affect the outcome, and there weren't any fingerprints. What's special here is that they have phone records, and so the prosecutors brought a case."

One of the two defendants is Paul Shurick, a close senior advisor to Ehrlich. He was the Ehrlich's communications director, when the former governor was in office from 2003 to 2007. The prosecutor calls it the "Shurick Doctrine," which was designed to confuse black voters and get them not to vote.

"Shurick was well-known to the media," says McCartney. "He was a particularly aggressive political operative during the campaign. When he was communications director, a couple of Baltimore Sun reporters were basically put on quarantine. The governor's office was basically not allowed to deal with them because they were seen as hostile."

Allen releases economic policy; includes tax cuts, repeal of health-care plan

In Virginia, Republican George Allen is running to regain the U.S. Senate seat. He lost the last election, or at least what he called the blueprint for America’s comeback this week.

What's most interesting about Allen's economic plan is what he didn't include, say McCartney. Most of it is what you'd expect from a conservative like Allen. He wanted to repeal President Obama’s health care plan, he wants to cut the corporate tax rate nearly in half, and he wants to resume offshore drilling. But he avoided endorsing some of the best known, but some of the most controversial GOP economic proposals right now.

"He did not endorse Rep. Paul Ryan's proposal to replace the current form of Medicare with a federal subsidy program. That's a proposal that was endorsed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and it’s kind of a gold standard for the conservatives right now. I think this tells us something about Allen's game plan. I think we’re assuming that he's going to win the Republican primary, where he’s facing people to the right of him and especially Virginia Tea Party leader Jaime Radtke. She's been hammering him over his votes in the Senate. Basically she says to raise the debt and add it to spending. Allen doesn’t think he needs to go all the way to the right to win that primary, and he’s already looking to the general election, where he's almost certain to face former Gov. Tim Caine, and there winning independent and moderate voters in the center is crucial.”

U.S. Open brings heavy traffic and crowded lots to Montgomery County

Tens of thousands of people are visiting Bethesda, Md. for the U.S. Open Golf Tournament at Congressional Country Club right now. Montgomery County has spent years preparing for this event. And McCartney says, while there’s been heavy traffic around Congressional Country Club, especially on River Road and McArthur Boulevard, the county appears to be handling the logistical challenge well.

"It is one of the biggest sporting events in the nation each year. It attracts hundreds of thousands of people over the four days, and you can’t add so many people to an area that's not using to having them. It’s mostly two-lane roads in this area. On the other hand, the county has been preparing for this for two years. They've been warning people to stay away from the area with electronic road signs, and there are hundreds of shuttle buses ferrying spectators from remote parking areas, especially to and from the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg. County officials say they think it’s been going well. The traffic is very heavy, but there haven't been any negative surprises, and relatively few complaints."


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