Morning Read: O'Malley on McDonnell as Vice Presidential Prospect

The governors are at it again and this time they have something nice to say to each other…sort of.

MD. Governor Martin O’Malley—chairman of the Democratic Governors Association—and VA Governor Bob McDonnell—chairman of the Republican Governors Association—faced off during an appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press this weekend.

When host David Gregory asked O’Malley about the prospects of McDonnell on the GOP ticket as Romney’s vice-president, the Maryland governor responded: (Quotes VIA Washington Post)

“While Maryland’s had a better rate of job creation than Virginia, the truth is Virginia ranks far higher than Massachusetts did under Gov. Romney, so for that reason, I think Gov. McDonnell would be actually a better job creator than Mitt Romney was.”

He further said:

"I think he’s a very skilled leader, and he does an able job as the head of the Republican Governors Association.”

But it wasn’t all pseudo-compliments on the show.

O’Malley commented on the social issues that seemed to take over the Virginia legislative session this year.

"Creating jobs and expanding opportunity should be the central issue, but these "divisive wedge issues...rollback of women's rights...rollback of voting rights, rollback of workers' rights, all of these things that take us back are not strengthening our economy and creating jobs,” O’Malley said. "People start to see a pattern emerging in states like Wisconsin...even in Virginia, where these cultural issues are crowding out the things that really should concern us most."

McDonnell responded:

“Listen, that was one bill out of a thousand we passed,” McDonnell said. ”It was all focused on jobs and economic development, education and a number of other things. That’s my agenda.”

* The Virginia legislative session officially adjourned Saturday without passing a budget. The General Assembly will have to reconvene in Richmond for a special session to adopt a budget by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

* The Richmond Times-Dispatch compiled list of the 20 reasons the Virginia legislative session mattered this year.

From abortion rights to eminent domain laws, the list recaps key legislation passed by state lawmakers.

* Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney weighed in on Virginia’s legislative session and said that nobody looked good this year.

“Lesson one: Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell was too weak a leader to keep his party in line.

Lesson two: The Democrats in the legislature were too inept to take advantage of lesson one.”

The Washington Examiner’s Steve Contorno similarly reported that the legislative session wasn’t much help for McDonnell.

“The most consequential legislative session of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's first and only term as governor ended with a rare failure to approve a budget and with many of the governor's top priorities killed off by a sharply divided Senate.
At the same time, McDonnell was forced to address the kind of thorny social issues from which he's tried to distance himself, including legislation requiring women to get an ultrasound exam before getting an abortion that sparked national controversy.
For a Republican with national political ambitions, it wasn't helpful.”

* Teiro Cuccinelli—the wife of VA AG and gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli—wrote in a letter to supporters that Virginia suffers from “a lack of firm, principled conservative leaders.

The Washington Post reports that she didn’t mention Virginia’s current governor, Bob McDonnell, or her husband’s opponent in the GOP primary, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.

“In the past two years, it has become clear that Virginia and the rest of the country are suffering from a lack of firm, principled conservative and women not just willing to talk about our principles but to stick their necks out and lead on tough issues,’’ she wrote. “Personally I’m very tired of elected officials who want to make everybody happy and avoid ruffling any feathers at all costs. By avoiding all controversy, they actually don’t accomplish anything if substance. These types of politicians are not leaders.” 

McDonnell, according to The Post, is backing Bolling for governor and his spokesman had this response to the AG’s wife:

“I guess I just, respectfully, disagree a little with Mrs. Cuccinelli,’’ McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said. “I think Virginia has a number of conservative leaders, starting with Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, Ken Cuccinelli (her husband), Eric Cantor, Morgan Griffith, Scott Rigell, Robert Hurt, Rob Wittman, Randy Forbes, Bob Goodlatte and Frank Wolf, and the list goes on and on.”

* A Washington Examiner analysis found that The District’s mayor and city council members spent nearly $34,000 on food for themselves and their constituents last year.

This was the largest expense in 2011 of all the Office of Campaign Finance’s specified filing categories. Two thirds of the total $366, 153 spent was reported under an “other” category that includes expenses from personal reimbursements to sporting event tickets.

The article notes that of the $34,000 spent, one-third went to Mayor Gray’s birthday party last November, which also served as a constituent services fundraiser.

Read the full article and see a breakdown of the expenditures.

* The Post reports that D.C’ Mayor Vincent Gray’s administration has spent nearly $1 million to engage residents through summits, town halls and gatherings since last year.

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