About 10 minutes into Wednesday night’s broadcast of CNN’s “Crossfire,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) made the case that Texas is not the only state with great businesses.
Maryland has some some too, O’Malley said, ticking off Lockheed Martin, Under Armour and Marriott as examples for Rick Perry, governor of the Lone Star State, who sat across from him.
“We’re recruiting them to Texas,” Perry (R) said, without missing a beat.
“Well, you’re welcome to try,” O’Malley responded.
“We are,” Perry insisted.
The on-set sparring capped off several days of back-and-forth between the two governors — both considered possible 2016 presidential contenders — over the virtues of their respective states and their differing political philosophies.
Perry spent much of Wednesday in the Free State on his latest foray into a Democratic governor’s back yard to court businesses to Texas. A series of radio and television ads narrated by Perry criticizing Maryland’s tax environment preceded his arrival by several days.
On Wednesday, Perry was greeted by an op-ed in The Washington Post penned by O’Malley that argued that the Texas jobs “miracle” was less impressive than it appeared because so many workers in the state earn the minimum wage.
O’Malley also touted Maryland’s top-ranked schools, nation-leading median income and spirit of innovation.
Perry’s itinerary included a tour of the Beretta USA facility in Accokeek, and he later defended his decision to visit a gun manufacturer so close to the site of Monday’s rampage at the Washington Navy Yard.
“The fact is that I’m a pro-2nd Amendment guy, Texas is a pro-2nd Amendment state and Beretta has been a great manufacturer in Maryland,” Perry said. “They feel not only under appreciated, they feel under attack.”
He spoke to reporters outside the Morton’s restaurant in Bethesda, where inside he met privately with a group of business leaders.
There were no announcements Wednesday of companies moving to Texas, but Perry suggested his efforts would continue.
“There’s something really fascinating going on in the state of Texas, and it’s been going on for some time,” he said, noting that 30 percent of jobs created in the United States during the past decade had been created in his state.
Both men came to the “Crossfire” set armed with statistics, and they appeared with a banner reading “TEXAS MESSES WITH MARYLAND” across the bottom of the screen.
O’Malley got some measure of vindication when hosts Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter shared the results of their viewer “fire back” poll.
Fifty-four percent said they would rather live in Maryland, while 46 percent said they would prefer Texas.