Maryland Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler (D) is facing questions over a controversial photo from a beach party attended by his son last summer.
The Baltimore Sun unveiled the report Wednesday, showing a picture of Gansler surrounded by dancing teens at a Bethany Beach, Del. house in June 2013. The attorney general affirmed that he stopped by briefly to talk to his son and left.
According to the newspaper, participants later confirmed that underage drinking was taking place. But Gansler said it was not his job to put a stop to that.
"Assume for purposes of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party," Gansler told the Sun. "How is that relevant to me? … The question is, do I have any moral authority over other people's children at beach week in another state? I say no."
The photo in question, via a Thursday Baltimore Sun tweet. Gansler is in white shirt with cell phone, right of center, according to caption information from the paper:
— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) October 24, 2013
Nearly a year ago, Gansler appeared in a video for "Ask Listen Learn" -- an organization stressing that "kids and alcohol don't mix." In the clip posted on Dec. 25, 2012, Gansler said parents are "the leading influence" in their children's "decision not to drink."
"It's never too early to talk with your kids about smart ways to say no," Gansler said in the clip below.
The Sun report emerges less than two weeks after Gansler faced allegations of ordering Maryland troopers to drive him around in reckless fashion, using lights and sirens to run red lights on the way to appointments. The Washington Post attributed those claims to reports written by Maryland State Police officials, but Gansler denied such wrongdoing, vowing that those documents were "not an accurate reflection of reality."
"I deeply respect the troopers, the job they do protecting me and the public," he said in a statement. "A few of the 18 troopers who have provided me protection felt my backseat driving made them uncomfortable — for that I apologize."
UPDATE (2:55 p.m. ET): At a Thursday press conference in Silver Spring, Md., Gansler said that he could have done more to investigate underage drinking at the party.
“In this case, maybe I should have done something different,” he said, according to the Washington Post. “If I had seen anything that was dangerous or risky ... I would have done something about it.”