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O'Malley: Maryland Overcame Groucho Marx Syndrome

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley cited a scene from a 1935 Marx Brothers film today in making the case that his administration had acted boldly to take responsibility for the state's fiscal challenges.

Speaking to a gathering of the Prince George's County Chamber of Commerce, O'Malley (D)compared Maryland's past practices to a scence from "A Night at the Opera" in which a character played by Groucho Marx is given an inflated dinner bill by a waiter.

"This is an outrage!" the Marx character says, handing the bill to a woman at the table. "If I were you, I wouldn't pay it!"

For too long, O'Malley said, Maryland leaders had been "like Groucho Marx at the dinner table," passing along the state's fiscal challenges without really addressing them.

O'Malley credited his administration with tackling a $1.7 billion structural deficit though a combination of spending cuts and tax increases -- the latter of which have generated far more media attention.

"It was hard, and it was painful," O'Malley told the luncehon crowd, gathered in Ritchie Coliseum on the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park.

O'Malley said the effort had allowed the state to preserve its AAA bond rating and continue investing in priorities such as education and public safety. The governor devoted the balance of his speech to talking about progress made in those and other areas, including minority contracting.

Among those in the audience was former Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D), O'Malley's Democratic primary rival for governor in 2006. Duncan is now an administrator at the university.

"It's good to see you again," O'Malley said, acknowledging Dunan's presence.

By John Wagner  |  May 14, 2008; 4:35 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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