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Gansler spotted at teenagers' Delaware house party

Thursday - 10/24/2013, 2:51pm  ET

Gansler addresses firestorm over teen party

WTOP's Kate Ryan reports

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UPDATE 2 p.m. EST 10/24/2013:

WASHINGTON - Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, a Democratic candidate for governor, told reporters on Thursday that he "could have done something different" when he stopped by a Delaware house party in June where teenagers were drinking.

In a news conference in Silver Spring, Gansler said that his interest in coming by the party was to tell his son that they had to get up at 6 the next morning.

Gansler said he didn't know whether the teens at the party were drinking, but added that "perhaps I should have assumed" that that was the case and talked to the adult chaperones about ending the party.

"I don't know for a fact that there was drinking going on. I assume now; I should have assumed then. ... It seemed like there was some drinking going on; I don't know by whom."

He added, "What I could have done was investigate whether drinking was going on, and I probably should have done that."

When asked whether clearly visible red cups should have been a tipoff that drinking was going on, Gansler replied, "There could be Kool-Aid in the red cups, but there's probably beer in the red cups. I didn't go over and stick my nose in the cups and see, and maybe I should have."

Gansler emphasized that he did not see any teenagers in danger. He said that his son was the DJ for the party, so he went straight to him and left. He added that his son was not drinking.

Gansler claimed that, in a picture that seemed to show him taking a photo of the party, he was actually reading a text. "I'm 50 years old and can't read so I'm holding it out."

As to reports of damage to the house, Gansler said that the police and the real estate company that had rented out the house agreed that the damage was caused by vandals the next night. When the adults who rented the house checked out, "the house was totally clean, totally clear, no damage whatsoever," Gansler said.

EARLIER:

WASHINGTON - Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler says it was not his responsibility to stop any underage drinking that may have occurred at a Delaware house party he stopped by in June.

The Baltimore Sun reports Gansler -- a Democrat who's running for governor -- showed up at a party of teenagers in South Bethany, where partygoers were dancing on a table and red plastic cups were visible.

Someone at the party snapped a photo in which Gansler can be seen, and the Sun says participants later confirmed there was alcohol present.

The attorney general says he went to the party briefly to talk to his son, and then left. He says he doesn't remember seeing anyone consuming alcohol, and that it was not his job as a parent or law enforcement official to intervene, according to the Sun.

Gansler has publicly criticized underage drinking. He is expected to hold a press conference Thursday afternoon to address the situation.

"My responsibility is only to my child. Everybody has their own moral compass," he told the Sun. "Mine is to raise my own child."

The Sun reports Gansler joined with other parents in paying for a week's stay at a beach house as part of their sons' graduation from the Landon School in Bethesda, Md. Adults reportedly were to be stationed as chaperones, and rules banned the drinking of "hard alcohol."

In Delaware, the Sun says it is legal for parents to allow their own children to drink at home.

Gansler's campaign for governor is going through a rough patch. The Washington Post published a story last week about Maryland State Police describing Gansler as directing troopers protecting him to bypass traffic by driving on the shoulder and presenting other safe-driving concerns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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