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First Click -- Maryland

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Thursday, January, 28, 2010:

The Agenda:

Obama speech gets thumbs up from Md. delegation

Obama.jpgDemocratic members of Maryland's congressional delegation rallied behind President Obama's State of the Union address Wednesday night.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Assistant to the Speaker Chris Van Hollen and Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin all lauded Obama for focusing on the government's role in spurring economic recovery.

Hoyer liked the president's "commitment to fiscal responsibility," notably his call for a freeze on discretionary spending and for a bipartisan commission to look at deficit reduction.

Van Hollen joined Obama in defending the Recovery Act, which Van Hollen said was a firm commitment to the middle class "by stabilizing our economy, preventing almost two million jobs from being lost, supporting small businesses, and lowering taxes for 95 percent of Americans."

And Cardin congratulated the president for proposing new ways to promote lending to credit-strapped small businesses, which "are the backbone of America's economy.

Hoyer singled out Obama's demand for reform, both in health care and on Wall Street.

Van Hollen urged his constituents to support the president's call for a jobs bill because "Americans are still hurting." The House passed such a bill in December, but the Senate, as antsy as many Americans about federal spending, is taking up its own, smaller version now.

Van Hollen also complimented the president for criticizing a Supreme Court decision last week that struck down campaign finance limits on certain corporate spending in elections. (Van Hollen is a co-sponsor of legislation attempting to address that decision).

No word at this hour from the rest of Maryland's delegation.

-- Amy Gardner

News You Should Know

McDonnell gives staged State of the Union response
McDonnell.jpgVirginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) called for a smaller, less intrusive federal government and an end to Democratic health-care reform in the Republican response to the State of the Union," writes The Post's Anita Kumar. "In a presentation that mimicked many of the trappings of President Obama's address, McDonnell delivered his speech in front of a packed audience of about 250 family members, friends and donors in the state's historic Capitol.

Gay marriage advocates take long-term view
"Advocates of same-sex marriage in Maryland say they don't anticipate any big victories in the State House this year, despite the recent adoption of more permissive laws in the District of Columbia, New Hampshire and elsewhere," reports The Baltimore Sun's Annie Linskey. "Instead, proponents of a broader definition of marriage are thinking long-term. For the first time, they are launching a fundraising and lobbying effort to target individual state legislators who they say are unfriendly to their cause."

Lawmakers proposing campaign finance bills
Montgomery County Sens. Jamie Raskin and Brian E. Frosh, on Wednesday announced a package of legislative proposals that would "prohibit state contractors from making independent political expenditures, require shareholder approval before a Maryland-based company pays for campaign material, and bar companies from claiming such expenses as an exemption on their state tax returns," writes The Sun's Julie Bykowicz.


Valderrama.jpg"I figured I could play a part"
Unspun: Kris Valderrama
An offbeat interview with the state delegate from Prince George's County

To which 1970s sitcom character do you best relate?
Are you serious? Does "The Brady Bunch" count? I think I'm going to go with Marcia. ... She always wanted to do good, and she cared about her school and the community.

What's the last song you downloaded to your ipod?
My husband just recently downloaded some songs for me. The most recent one was the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys song. ... That, and "The Hustle." It's disco.

Check back here at 11 a.m. for the complete interview by John Wagner, in which Valderrama also discusses what she's reading, how she relaxes and the influence of her father, who was the first Filipino-American elected to a state legislature on the mainland.


Trust First Click for critical news and analysis you need to navigate Maryland politics. Each weekday, First Click brings you The Agenda, a concise, forward-looking analysis of the day's top development in politics or policy. "News You Should Know" breaks down top stories from across the state. And Look Ahead, Unspun, News Makers, and Week in Review keep you up to speed with power brokers in Annapolis and beyond. Want First Click on the go? Sign up for our free e-mail edition, and get the news delivered to your inbox or mobile device.

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By Aaron C. Davis  |  January 28, 2010; 6:45 AM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click , John Wagner  
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Next: Unspun -- Kris Valderrama

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