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Miller, Franchot Spar Over Slots

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., perhaps the leading proponent of legalizing slot machine gambling, made his feelings for slots foe and state Comptroller Peter Franchot crystal clear.

When Franchot arrived at the Rural Maryland Council's annual award banquet Thursday for his keynote address, Miller stood up and exited the hotel ballroom.

Within seconds, a Franchot aide came out to ask, "Senator Miller, do you have a few minutes for the comptroller?"

"No, not really," Miller replied, saying that he was busy answering questions from a Washington Post reporter.

Seconds later, Franchot walked towards Miller, but Miller warned him to keep his distance because a Post photographer was snapping pictures.

Franchot, left, with Miller. (Mark Gail - Post)

Then once Franchot left, Miller unloaded on the former delegate-turned-tax collector. Miller, who supports legalizing slots, noted that Franchot supported legalized gambling in 2001 before switching sides and is now campaigning against it.

"He's a chameleon," Miller said.

Miller then criticized Franchot for the public comments he is making regarding Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan.

"We only have one governor in the state, really," Miller said. "He's really shameless with what he does," he said of Franchot. "When we have a crisis, we need people to subjugate their egos for the goodness of the body. By definition, that's just not him."

Then Miller winked and left the hotel.

A few minutes later, delivering his keynote address, Franchot acknowledged Miller's absence: "Whenever I arrive, Senator Miller seems to leave, but I want to recognize him as a great leader."

When asked about Miller's criticism, Franchot said he is speaking out as the state's chief fiscal officer.

"I am not the governor and I'm not a legislator and all I'm doing is giving a fiscal perspective that slots is a dead-end solution," Franchot said. "I tell him, with all due respect, that if I agreed with him on slots he wouldn't have any problem with my speaking out."

Franchot then told a reporter to stay tuned. He will make a "major statement" next Tuesday regarding his views on slots and other budget issues.

-- Philip Rucker

By  |  October 19, 2007; 8:55 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly  
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I can't decide if it is funny or sad - the statement by Senate President Mike Miller: "When we have a crisis, we need people to subjugate their egos for the goodness of the body."

There isn't a container in the Mid-Atlantic region that could contain Mike Miller's subjugated ego.

Maybe if we divert ICC funding, we could afford a container that size for the good of the Free State.

Posted by: PG'er | October 19, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Mike Miller needs to retire. He's completely lost his usefulness and he certainly proves yet again that he has a complete lack of tact and respect for anyone other than himself.

Is it okay to use the word douchebag to describe him?

Posted by: corbett | October 19, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

This is just a preview of the train-wreck the special session may turn out to be. So much for the fantasy that one-party rule in Maryland would result on everyone buying into O'Malley's "consensus" proposal. Ask O'Malley what he thinks about this situation. Oh - that's right - he's on a junket in Ireland. He must be really serious about rounding up those votes for the special session.

Posted by: anonymous | October 19, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

If your Maryland readers would like to make their feelings known about the Special Session or the massive tax plan that may break historical records, go to Senator EJ Pipkin's website:

Posted by: Andi | October 19, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Good thing there will be a special session to address the slots/deficit issues. If they waited until the regular session in January, NOTHING else would get done until teh very end. This way they need to address the fiscal mess Bobby Hairspray left and recognize that the windfall of money from the housing boom has dried up. Get it done or plan to spend Christmas in Annapolis.

Posted by: jmsbh | October 19, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Translation from the Millerese:

Miller: "When we have a crisis, we need people to subjugate their egos for the goodness of the body."

English: "Shut the @#$@#)(* up and vote for my @#@#$@# slots bill, you piece of (*&()*&)(&."

Here's my question: what is Mike Miller willing to give up "for the goodness of the body"? I see no evidence of him doing anything other than threatening to kill any proposal that doesn't include a massive slot machine component.

Talk is cheap, Mr. Miller. What are you doing to foster the grand compromise?

Posted by: amused | October 19, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Why are we having a special session? The budget through the first half of the year 2008 is balanced. The legislature is due to go into regular session in January. Does the governor have the power to call a special session to raise taxes at any time? There is no emergency. What about all the language in the state constitution about when the state budget should be presented?

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | October 19, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Miller is a hyper-manipulative, ego-maniac. He runs southern Maryland like it is his fiefdom. He really has to go.

Posted by: CR | October 19, 2007 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Miller's bayfront estate is located in Chesapeake Beach, where slots are already legalized and are protected under the euphemistic term of "bingo". His close friend and loyal contributor, Mayor Gerald Donovan (D) owns most of the businesses in the town and nearly all of the waterfront property. His waterfront restaurant/hotel/casino is doing very well. Donovan's greed has made it so that you cannot see the waterfront without first being tempted to drop $50 in his "bingo" games.

Miller has always been a proponent of slots but now he seems more determined than ever to see it through. I guess he had to ensure that Ehrlich's plan failed while still appealing to his grass roots constituents (i.e., Mayor Donovan). With O'Malley at the helm, it's now "game on!" and yet another victory for the working person. You get what you vote for, which is a sleezy DUI attorney with a bad hair piece that (let's be perfectly clear) is in bed with the gambling lobby for his own gain-not for anything to do with a budget deficit.

Posted by: BG from PG | October 20, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

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