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Doug Gansler Defends His Actions On Underage Drinking Party

Maryland Attorney General, and candidate for governor, Doug Gansler, left, reacts to Jim Avila, senior national correspondent at ABC News, as he shows him a photograph while meeting with reporters to explain his actions during a summertime visit to a teenage house party.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Maryland Attorney General, and candidate for governor, Doug Gansler, left, reacts to Jim Avila, senior national correspondent at ABC News, as he shows him a photograph while meeting with reporters to explain his actions during a summertime visit to a teenage house party.

Stung by criticism that he failed to break up underage drinking at house party last summer, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler held a news conference today to defend himself.

Hi, I'm Attorney General Doug Gansler, alarmingly kids typically begin to experiment with alcohol around age 12. Parents, you are the leading influence.

That was Attorney General Doug Gansler in a public service announcement last year. This is him today: "Perhaps I should have assumed there was drinking going on, and I got that wrong"

For 30 minutes Gansler parried reporters' questions about why he didn't to do more to determine if teens were gulping down beer at his son's high school graduation beach party in Delaware in June. A photo that's gone viral shows him smack dab in a crowded room, surrounded by shirtless boys and dancing girls, red Solo cups everywhere.

"There could be Kool-Aid in the red cups but there is probably beer in the red cups," Gansler said. "That wasn't... you know, I didn't go over and stick my nose in and see, and maybe I should have."

Gansler said over and over that he stopped by the chaperoned party that he helped arrange as a parent, not a law enforcer, to speak to his son for a few minutes and left.

"Could I have, if I had been more observant, seen some red cups and then assume there was beer in them? Yeah," Gansler said.

Gansler even provided a list to all the house guests — teenage boys — of what they could and could not do. Drinking beer was not prohibited. Hard liquor and controlled substances were banned.

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