Both Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell had big weeks. Maryland’s General Assembly passed a bill to legalize same sex marriages -- a bill that O’Malley, a Democrat, heavily pushed. And in Virginia, McDonnell, a Republican, was largely on damage control after two abortion-related bills, neither of which were passed, gained national attention and backlash.
But the two governors -- who are each the heads of their party’s respective governor’s association -- squared off today in political debate at the POLITICO-sponsored second annual “State Solutions Conference” in the District.
Here are some standout sounds bites from the duel, as reported by Politico.
O’Malley on Virginia:
“They have seen their legislature take a hard right turn and that’s exactly the sort of overreach that they saw in Wisconsin which has the 49th worst job creation rate, the sort of overreach they saw in Ohio, which has the 30th worst job creation rate, and also what they’ve seen in Florida which has the 45th worst job creation rate,” he said “They say vote for us, things will get better, and then you vote for Republicans and they take a hard right turn, outlawing gay relationships, outlawing women’s rights, outlawing unions and outlawing — throwing all sorts of social issues out there when what the people really care about are jobs and the economy."
McDonnell with the defense:
“Here’s the difference: Democratic governors believe that increasing taxes and increasing regulations and protection unions is the way to create jobs and encourage the private sector. Republican governors don’t. We have a lot more faith in individual liberties and the beauty and incredible power of the entrepreneur and the free enterprise system,” he said.
McDonnell on the Virginia bill that would have required women to have a transvaginal ultrasound prior to an abortion, which he supported then asked to be amended.
“I still support the bill — that never forfeits a governor’s right to make amendment s through the process,” he said. “I didn’t think it was proper to mandate invasive ultrasounds so I said let’s make those amendments.”
O’Malley on Maryland’s gay marriage bill:
“I believe that the way forward among people of many different faiths is always in the direction of greater respect for the equal rights of all,” he said. “This bill protects religious liberties and it also protects the rights of individuals.”
McDonnell on Obama:
“I believe that this president has taken this country on such a radical left bent that I’m going to do everything that I can to elect a new president,” he said. “I decided about a month ago that Mitt Romney is best. … That’s what we need, instead of what we have now which is playing the blame game with this president.”
And O’Malley in support of Obama:
“I’m proud of the difficult things our president’s done and I’m not shy about wanting to be a supporter of his, especially in this national debate when so many Democrats lose their tongues and feel like they can’t speak up about the difficult things they’ve had to confront,” the governor said. “Everybody second guessed the president when he did the recovery and reinvestment act … On the auto-industry, everybody second-guessed the president.”
* And another one…
President Obama will open his fifth campaign office in the swing state of Virginia this weekend. The office will be in Fredericksburg.
* Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, the Virginia state senator who sponsored the controversial ultrasound abortion bill, opted to strike her legislation today.
Her original bill had called for women to get an invasive, transvaginal ultrasound prior to an abortion.
Upon McDonnell’s request, the House passed an amended version of the bill that would make the transvaginal ultrasound optional.
Vogel had said last week that she had doubts about the bill and would move to strike it when it went back to the Senate floor.
* The Fraternal Order of Police union sent a letter to Mayor Vincent Gray dismissing the recent ethics pledge he's requiring all city employees to sign as a PR stunt. Loose Lips has the letter here.