Two governors — Republican Rick Perry of Texas and Democrat Martin O’Malley of Maryland — sparred over jobs on TV Wednesday, sparked by Perry’s attempts to lure businesses to the Lone Star State.
Both potential 2016 presidential contenders, they clashed sharply on CNN’s "Crossfire" hours after Perry toured Maryland’s largest gun manufacturer, Beretta, which had threatened to move after O’Malley signed a law in May tightening gun regulations.
Perry spent his lunch hour pitching Texas to about 40 business leaders and top Maryland Republicans, reports the Dallas Morning News.
O’Malley accused Perry of pushing a "slash-and-burn economic philosophy," arguing that by holding down both taxes and spending, he had left Texas with low graduation rates, high poverty rates, and people without health insurance.
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"We’re about giving people freedom," Perry responded, citing the freedom to have a job and the freedom to choose whether or not they have health insurance.
Businesses such as Amazon, Facebook, and Toyota have opened in Texas.
"They didn’t come there if they were worried about whether or not there was not going to be a skilled workforce, or people were going to have healthcare," he said.
O’Malley shot back that his state has chosen to focus on "building an economy from the middle out" via things like improving education.
He told Perry that Texas is "not an economy that is actually lifting up the middle class."
The debate also got heated over implementation of Obamacare.
O’Malley has hailed Maryland’s early adoption of the Affordable Care Act, while Perry has refused federal money to expand Medicaid through the health law.
Putting "tens of thousands of people on a system that is broken," Perry said, is akin to "putting tens of thousands on the Titanic knowing how it’s going to turn out."
O’Malley argued that the flexibility of the Obamacare health-insurance exchanges will offer Maryland workers a competitive advantage.
Also on Wednesday, it was announced that O’Malley will be keynote speaker
at Democratic Party’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner in New Hampshire this fall, a major Democratic event that Barack Obama headlined as a presidential candidate.
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