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Md. Governor Candidate Gansler Discusses His Appearance at Underage Party

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Photo courtesy of CBS Baltimore and The Baltimore Sun

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler can be seen right of center.
He is wearing a white shirt and holding a cell phone.
(Photo courtesy of CBS Baltimore and The Baltimore Sun)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — If you’re running for governor of your state, you don’t necessarily want a picture of you in a room full of scantily clad and half-naked teenagers to be making its rounds on the internet.

Unfortunately for Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, that’s exactly what he’s dealing with this week.

Gansler held a news conference in Silver Spring Thursday afternoon to discuss his appearance at a party that was held at a Delaware beach house this summer, during what is commonly referred to as “Beach Week” or “Senior Week” for Maryland students who have just graduated high school.

Some critics have said it was irresponsible of him not to break the gathering up. A Baltimore Sun report says many of the attendees were drinking alcohol.

Gansler was only at the Bethany Beach home briefly to speak with his own son about their departure plans for the next morning, he said. He had attended a Maryland State Bar Association event in Ocean City earlier in the night.

He claims his son was not drinking alcohol, but says it’s entirely possible that others were. He also said there were chaperones at the home.

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun earlier this week, Gansler said he doesn’t remember whether he saw drinking going on, but that if he had, it wasn’t his responsibility to intervene.

“Perhaps I should have assumed there was drinking going on and I got that wrong,” he said at his press conference Thursday afternoon. “But what I can tell you is that at no time while I was in the house did I see any teenager in an danger or any risk.”

He told the Sun that it was not his place to try to meddle in the activities of other people’s children in a different state than the one in which he holds office.

“I was there as a parent,” he said Thursday.

When asked Thursday if he feels he has a moral obligation to children, Gansler said he does.

“I love my kids, I love my kids’ friends. I’m a very, very, very involved parent,” he said.

But he reiterated that he did not feel that any of the teenagers in the home the night of the party were in any danger.

In 2012, Gansler partnered with the Ask, Listen, Learn campaign to create this public service announcement about talking to children about not drinking:

Governor Martin O’Malley declined to comment on what action, if any, Gansler should have taken at the party. As far as its relevance to the governor’s race, O’Malley left the matter in the hands of voters, while reiterating his support for Brown.

“Voters are smart and in the course of time they have the ability to evaluate the positions of candidates and also their personal makeup, so things like this happen in the course of a campaign and voters are pretty intelligent over the long-term,” O’Malley said after speaking Thursday at The Center for American Progress in Washington.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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