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Morning Read: O'Malley vs. McDonnell On Economic Growth

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AM Read: O'Malley Debates McDonnell

CNN

Md. Gov. Martin O'Malley and Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell compared economies on CNN's State of the Union program.

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With one governor the head of the Democratic Governors Association and the other the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, the two governors of the DMV area are bound to come head to head on key issues.

And Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell did just that Sunday, debating job creation, the economy and the presidential race on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

Both of their states have reported recent job growth—Maryland created nearly 27,000 jobs from January 2011 through November 2011 and Virginia created nearly 11,000 jobs during that same period—but the two governors disagreed on who deserves credit for the economic growth.

O’Malley gave a nod to the president, while McDonnell, who has been a prominent backer of Romney, said local (Republican) government deserves the credit.

McDonnell said:

“I’m glad the economy is starting to recover but I think it’s because of what Republican governors are doing in their states, not because of the president.”

O’Malley responded:

“Your state is now creating jobs, my state is creating jobs, throughout our country we are no creating jobs. Now, we could create jobs faster, Governor Mcdonnell, if your party was not captive of the right wing tea party folks in Congress who want to keep anything from happening. But facts are stubborn things."

While the governors’ debate was framed in the context of the presidential election, people have been analyzing and reporting on the job growth in both states.

The Richmond Times Dispatch had a staff editorial Monday weighing in the state employment job growth over the last few years:

In a lineup against other states, Virginia looks pretty good. The nationwide average is 1.8 state employees for every 100 residents. Virginia, with 1.6 state workers for every 100 residents, is ranked 28th — slightly below the average. For comparison purposes, Hawaii has the most state employees per 100 residents (a whopping 4.3). Nevada, Arizona, Illinois and Florida have the fewest (1.0).

Rankings can be misleading. The tallest kid in kindergarten is by no means tall compared with an NBA roster. But he is tall for his cohort — and that counts for something.

The Baltimore Sun editorial board also weighed in over the weekend, saying that both states have fared better than most states because of the federal government employing a lot of their residents:

As of December (the latest month for which state-level statistics are available) both states have returned to about 97 percent of their pre-recession employment levels, with Virginia in the lead by a whopping two one-hundredths of 1 percent.

All that suggests that Governors O'Malley and McDonnell should spend less time arguing with each other — and more time falling on their knees to thank the Founding Fathers for carving out some land on the border of their states for the nation's capital. That fact, more than any particular policy either of them has pursued, is likely what made the recession shallower, and the recovery sharper, than it has been in the rest of the nation.

* Famed talk show host Montel Williams attended an Advisory Neighborhood Meeting to plea for the acceptance of his two applications for medical marijuana cultivation centers in Ward 5, DCist.com reports.

Williams suffers from multiple sclerosis and uses marijuana to treat his pain.

But at the ANC meeting to discuss a total of six applications, residents and commissioners seemed to widely disapprove of the applications.

Read more here…

* In other pot news, a Democrat bid in Virginia to study the possibility of selling marijuana in state-run liquor stores failed last week.

* Virginia legislation that would allow private adoption agencies to deny placements that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs, including opposition to gay marriage, easily passed through the House of Delegates Friday, The Associated Press reports.

* A gambling bill that would authorize table games at existing casinos is scheduled to be introduced in the Maryland Senate Monday

The Washington Post reports that an overlooked provision in the bill would repeal a prohibition in existing law that limits individuals or businesses from owning more than one casino in the state.

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