MALLOY: I WAS PRAISING, NOT ‘BLASTING’ WHITE HOUSE EFFORTS

Governor-elect Dan Malloy hit Washington, DC Tuesday hoping to give Connecticut an added presence in the nation’s capitol and put the state in the best possible position to get its fair share of federal funding, something current Gov. Rell never did. While he seems to have accomplished that, Malloy also wound up in a bit of controversy after the publication National Journal wrote a story with the blaring headline, “Gov.-Elect Dan Malloy Blasts the White House.” That interpretation got picked up elsewhere.

After a request for a follow-up comment, the governor-elect called The Hanging Shad and said he wasn’t critical of President Obama. “I didn’t blast anyone. Almost everything I said was complimentary of the hard work the president did [for Malloy’s campaign and the country] as well as the work of Congress.” Malloy also note he didn’t say anything different than what the president himself has said.

Malloy spoke Tuesday at a meeting of The New Democratic Leadership Council, a group chaired by former US Sen. Harold Ford, Jr. In his remarks, Malloy pointed out that the Obama White House communications operation has had a difficult time telling the story of the administration’s successes. Malloy ticked off those accomplishments: the stimulus bill, the TARP effort, the expanded availability of student loans and others. “In a time when oil spills and trapped miners where rightly dominating the news, the White House had trouble getting through,” Malloy said.

Another comment he made also was highlight by the National Journal. He said Congress would have been better off allowing cities and towns to spend stimulus money rather than states. “That way, Connecticut wouldn’t have spent all that money to buy buses made in Indianapolis,” he said.

Malloy’s proactive approach to affairs in Washington is a refreshing change from Gov. Rell who routinely skipped meetings of the National Governors Association (in one case, citing a “travel ban” in missing actual face time with President Bush. Save the cost of airfare and miss out on potential millions for the state? Excellent plan).

Connecticut is much better off with a governor working hand-in-hand with the state’s Democratic Congressional delegation to get the Democratic White House to pay attention to the state. That’s good news for the state. “I’ll be going back [to Washington, DC] the week after Thanksgiving,” Malloy told me.

Note to National Journal headline writers: My journalism professor at Syracuse used to tell me, “Leave the ‘blasting’ to the terrorist.”  It’s good advice.