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“This says ‘New Jobs, More Opportunities.’ DGA’s is ‘Jobs. Opportunity.’ Yeah, I know. But still,” Mr. Catanese responded.

The triviality of the syntax snafu was not lost on Mr. Martin.

“So I’ve spent day arguing about who had ‘jobs and opportunity’ ” first. Take that medics in Haiti. Who contributed to society today, eh?” he concluded.

At least he can joke about it

It took two weeks, but one of the head honchos in Annapolis finally has shown a sense of humor about the General Assembly’s meltdown earlier this month.

It was Gov. Martin O’Malley who finally cracked a smile last week, joking with reporters after his meeting with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, during which the three discussed the possibility of one or two special legislative sessions in coming months.

All three Democrats have grown more impatient in recent weeks, seething publicly and speaking in grim, clipped tones about the assembly’s failure to pass revenue and gambling bills, with Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Busch blaming Mr. Miller for lawmakers’ inaction.

After their breakfast meeting last week, Mr. Busch and Mr. Miller were typically stone-faced, offering few answers to reporters and generally looking miserable over the possibility that they might have to return for session next month and again in August.

The governor, however, played hard-to-get when reporters caught up with him later that morning after an appearance in Baltimore where he spoke to the State Board of Education.

“Governor, what happened this morning?” asked the first reporter - who, like most press members there, was not there to hear about reading, writing or ‘rithmetic.

“I just talked with the state school board about the priorities of education and the things we’re doing well and the things we need to do better,” the governor replied, smirking all the while before he was cut off by a reporter who rephrased the question.

“Ah, breakfast?” he said before finally getting down to business.

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