- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 4, 2011

O'Malley to McDonnell: Mine is bigger than yours

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley might have been on the other side of the world last week, leading a state trade mission to India, but that didn’t stop him from getting in a playful dig at Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The governors, who lead their respective Democratic and Republican governors associations, have engaged in a relatively friendly rivalry, disagreeing amicably on many national issues while playing up the economic competition between their neighboring states.

While speaking to reporters last week via teleconference, Mr. O'Malley deflected criticism of his India visit, hailing it as a crucial networking opportunity for the more than 100 state officials and business leaders who made the trip.

And of course, he made sure to point out that Maryland’s traveling party, which he described as the largest ever brought to India by any state, was larger than the group of Virginia leaders that Mr. McDonnell led to India last month.

“There are huge markets here … and that’s why I’m here,” Mr. O'Malley said. “And that’s why Governor McDonnell — with a far smaller delegation — came here the week before.”

Your move, Mr. McDonnell.

Quitters Never Win

The sudden firing of Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau provided plenty of water-cooler talk last week.

In fact, it helped D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh fill some dead air on Tuesday while the tech crew at the John A. Wilson Building tried to get their audio equipment to work.

Ms. Cheh, Ward 3 Democrat, asked the room how the Caps would fare that night under new leadership. Turns out, at least one witness had an extensive opinion on the matter.

“Not good,” Charles H. Epps said.

“I don’t like quitters and they quit on their coach,” he added, laying out a basis for his view until the mics were working.

Another witness, Jabari Zakiya of Empower DC, offered an alternative viewpoint: “I guarantee the Wizards won’t lose.”

The ‘Visible’ Man

For a guy who wasn’t even there, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II was hard to miss at the Republican Party of Virginia Advance —the state GOP’s annual confab for merrymaking, political gossip, and unofficial starts to future statewide campaigns.

Scattered among the invitations to hospitality suites sitting Friday in the lobby of the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., were stacks of letters from Mr. Cuccinelli, apologizing for his absence (he was moderating a Republican presidential debate in New York) but asking voters for their support in his bid to replace Gov. McDonnell in the 2013 election.

Supporters in “I’m with Ken!” T-shirts dashed around handing out stickers and other paraphernalia (or at least trying to.)

Even backers of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who has all but declared he will run, weren’t immune.

On Saturday afternoon, a woman passed Jerry Burke, of Spotsylvania, who was sporting a Bolling sticker.

“Can I also give you a Cuccinelli sticker?” she asked.

“No, I’ll pass, thanks,” he cordially replied.

“Have a beautiful day,” she responded cheerfully.

Whether that attitude will hold up for the next 18 months remains to be seen.

• David Hill, Tom Howell Jr. and David Sherfinski contributed to this report.

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