Maryland leaders react to Obama town hall
Includes reporting by John Fritze and Rebekah Brown
President Barack Obama's town hall drew many state elected Democratic officials to College Park on Friday while others watched on television. Here is some reaction to the hour long question-and-answer session. Some comments are from interviews conducted at the University of Maryland and others are from prepared statements.
Gov. Martin O'Malley: “As the president said, Americans ‘didn’t choose a dysfunctional government.’ As a nation, we must pay our bills on time, and we must find a fiscally responsible way forward that balances revenues and cuts, so that we can continue to create jobs and compete to win in the new global economy."
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin: "The Republicans can maintain their values, Democrats can retain their values and we can reach a compromise that raises the debt ceiling and brings about a balanced approach to deal with the deficit...(but) you cannot enact a comprehensive, $4 trillion deal by Aug. 2 or by Aug. 15, so it can't be done in this time frame. The best we can do would be raise the debt ceiling, provide a down payment on the spending side and a mechanism that could get us to a more comprehensive approach."
Maryland Republican Party Interim Executive Director, Del. Justin Ready: "The fundamental issue is the idea that it's fair to raise taxes -- that that's going to be the fair way to deal with what is essentially a problem with the government over spending and spending beyond its means... Increased taxes are going to hurt the economy. We've got to get our spending under control."
Maryland state Comptroller Peter Franchot: "I would urge him to be strong. The state of Maryland is going to suffer, frankly, whatever happens. If they don't reach an agreement, we lose our AAA bond rating. If they do reach an agreement, we have huge cuts that are headed toward our state. I think he needs to show a lot more muscle and get this debt issue resolved."
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski: “Stuck in their Washington bubble, Team Obama believes the economy has improved under his watch despite losing 2.5 million jobs and adding 3.7 trillion to the debt. It’s become painfully clear that President Obama and his advisors are vastly out of touch with reality. Just today Obama called Governor O’Malley one of the best governors in the country – yes, the leader of the state that is dead last in job creation.”
Senior Vice President of the University of Maryland Student Government Association Matthew Popkin: "Overall, I think it’s great the president wanted to include the student voice -- and not just from students at the University of Maryland -- on a decision that will impact all of our futures, whether we are leaders or whether we are just citizens."