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“As you’re departing, we’d be pleased if you could keep your conversations to nothing,” Mr. Brown said to light laughter.

In a more awkward moment, he clashed with Mr. Franchot after the comptroller implied Mr. Brown wanted to place conditions on a lease that was up for board approval, when the lieutenant governor had only asked staff members if the board was allowed by law to do so.

The two men are widely believed to be front-runners in the 2014 election to replace Mr. O’Malley.

“Time out, Mr. Comptroller,” Mr. Brown said. “At no point did I make a comment or offer an opinion. I simply asked a question.”

Mr. Franchot withdrew his statement, but might not back down so easily in the 2014 debates.

It’s the jobs, stupid.

“Jobs” is the magic word for politicians these days. Give the impression that every move you make in office will create a job, and you’re golden.

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about education, energy, health care or taxes. George Allen knows this. In a campaign platform released this week, the U.S. Senate candidate advocated for lowering the “U.S. tax on job-creating businesses.” Translation: corporate income tax.

Annoying? Perhaps. But hey, Gov. Bob McDonnell does it every day. Here’s what he had to say about a higher education bill he signed this week:

“In order to get a good job, you need a good education. This is a jobs bill.”

Tom Howell Jr., David Hill and Paige Winfield Cunningham contributed to this report