GOP Govs Try to Deflect Focus from Extreme Views, While Dems Talk Jobs

February 29, 2012

After a busy weekend with governors from around the country in town for the National Governors’ Association winter meeting, the difference in priorities between Dem govs and their Republican counterparts couldn’t be clearer: Democratic governors are focused on creating jobs and expanding opportunity for their states, while Republican govs were busy deflecting scrutiny of their overreaching anti-union and anti-women agendas and avoiding questions about the increasingly dispiriting presidential primary on their side.

Democratic governors are focused on creating jobs and expanding opportunity…

UPI: Obama, Dem governors discuss jobs, economy: Besides building manufacturing, the Democratic governors discussed training workers and increasing American-made energy, themes in Obama’s State of the Union address. ‘We had a great conversation very focused, not surprisingly, on jobs,’ [Delaware Governor] Markell said, calling jobs the ‘biggest issue for all of us in the room, no matter where we come from.”

Politico: Governors flank Obama on job growth pitch: “The [Democratic] governors, who met with Obama while in town for this weekend’s National Governor’s Association conference, touted job creation — long considered Obama’s top political vulnerability — as a political strength. They pointed particularly to growth in the manufacturing sector… ‘He wants to ensure all across America we don’t give up on manufacturing jobs,’ Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire said. ‘There was a tendency to go to service jobs and say that’s our future. Our future is manufacturing and service.’

Bloomberg: Democratic Governors See Economy Enabling Obama’s Re-Election: Democratic governors at the Washington meeting said Republican debate over social issues may play into the president’s hands by repelling independents and shifting attention away from the economy, voters’ dominant concern. ‘Their candidates are not speaking to the issues that matter to the broad majority of Americans, and those are the issues that affect jobs, that affect job creation, that can expand opportunity,’ said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, the head of the Democratic Governors Association. ‘They’re doing somersaults over each other to appeal and to pander to a mean-spirited and extreme right wing of their party.’

…while Republican govs were busy deflecting scrutiny of their overreaching anti-union and anti-women agendas and avoiding questions about the increasingly dispiriting presidential primary on their side

Politico: Govs. Martin O’Malley, Bob McDonnell duel in D.C.: “[Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley] continued, ‘They say vote for us, things will get better, and then you vote for Republicans and they take a hard right turn, outlawing gay relationships, outlawing women’s rights, outlawing unions and outlawing — throwing all sorts of social issues out there when what the people really care about are jobs and the economy.’”

National Journal: Republican Govs Worry Over Social Issues: “In [VA Governor] McDonnell’s home state of Virginia, social issues drove headlines last week, when the governor amended his stance on a controversial measure that would require women to get an ultrasound before getting an abortion. The measure sparked impassioned protests from women’s groups, prompting McDonnell to do an about-face, proposing an amended version of the bill he initially said he’d support.”

Washington Post: GOP governors see risks from tone, length of nomination fight: “As the Republican presidential candidates dig in for a protracted battle for their party’s nomination, GOP leaders are increasingly eager to put the intraparty arguments behind them… Republican governors attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association here this weekend cautiously expressed the hope that the scars from a nomination battle that has turned increasingly personal will heal quickly once there is a nominee… ‘It has become a heated race, as we’ve seen,” [Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin] said, with the result that the candidates are ‘getting sidetracked on issues other than job creation and the national debt.’

Washington Post: Who’d believe it? Some governors face fallout from an improving economy: “But the forceful budget action taken last year by Republican governors in Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida, including severe spending cuts and moves to curtail the collective bargaining rights of public employees, have left them deeply unpopular as the economy has improved…Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker faces a election in the coming months, just over a year after his move to curtail collective bargaining rights for most public employees in the state brought him national attention, as well as huge protests. In Florida, opinion polls found Gov. Rick Scott to be the least popular governor in the country, after he initiated deep cuts in state education aid last year. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is struggling with one of the lowest approval ratings of any governor in the country after voters in November overturned a law he supported to end collective bargaining rights for that state’s public employees. In addition to cutting bargaining rights for government workers, Kasich, supported deep reductions in state aid to local school districts, while pushing a series of tax cuts that provided the largest benefits to Ohio’s wealthiest taxpayers.”

AP: GOP governors concerned about long primary race: “Meanwhile, virtually no Republican governors were willing to predict their party’s nominee would prevail in November.”