O'Malley entered to cheers from supporters on one side of the room. Ehrlich was greeted by his backers on the other.
O'Malley countered by accusing the former governor of having no credibility. If elected, Ehrlich is promising to lower the sales tax from six cents to five cents on every dollar spent.
But until now Ehrlich hasn't explained how he would make up for hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. He was asked for details and replied, "I don't think we're going to lose money. People are going to spend more."
The candidates clashed over responsibility for the many prolonged power outages that Marylanders have suffered. "I think the service providers have a responsibility to provide reliable service and should be accountable," said O'Malley.
Ehrlich accused the governor of being two-faced, because during the last election, O'Malley promised to do something about electric rates but never did.
After the debate, Ehrlich said he liked the give-and-take. "It points to our differences in philosophy and style," he said.
O'Malley had a different take on the debate. He said he expects Ehrlich to resort to desperate measures as the election approaches.
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