Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), both of whom are considered potential presidential candidates for their respective parties, clashed Wednesday over whose policies have produced better outcomes.
In a debate on CNN’s "Crossfire," Perry touted the explosive job growth in Texas, which he says is the result of low taxes and small government.
“Everybody in this room understands that there’s something really fascinating going on in the state of Texas,” Perry said. “Why would Facebook, eBay and those major technology companies move to the state of Texas if it was it’s such a dark and ominous place?”
Perry has been on the offensive in recent months, running advertisements in blue states in which he personally pleads for companies to relocate to Texas.
Earlier this week, Perry toured a gun manufacturing plant in Maryland, which he says has been under assault by the gun control efforts and business regulations of the O’Malley administration.
O’Malley told Perry at one point that he was “welcome to try” to poach Maryland companies.
“I am,” Perry responded.
The Maryland governor argued that a large number of Texans were working low-paying jobs, and he touted Maryland’s federal workforce, which he said was leveraging the “competitive advantages” of being near Washington. He said Perry’s singular focus on reducing the size of government didn’t offer the opportunity of upward mobility.
“There’s a mix that’s required: You not only have to be willing to cut your budget, to be fiscally responsible. … You also have to be able to make the smart investments that improve the levels of education for people, that improve their skills,” O’Malley said.
The two also clashed over the president’s healthcare law.
“We never thought in the state of Texas that you judge success by the number of people that are on public assistance, and we made the decision in Texas that we don’t want to force people to have to buy insurance,” Perry said. “They have access to some of the finest healthcare in the world … so the idea that we’re going to make people to buy insurance in the state of Texas — we’re about giving people freedom.”
O’Malley responded by ribbing Perry for isolating himself by clashing with the governors of other states.
“You should come to the National Governors Association meetings again,” he said. “I know Texas seceded from the National Governors Association, but if you came, you might be able to learn from the other governors that are actually implementing [ObamaCare], doing it well, and actually doing a better job of supporting an innovation economy and their workers’ well being.”