Reporters from Time, USA Today, Newsweek, MSNBC and the NewsHour were among the roughly 30 journalists to attend the "Inside Politics" breakfast hosted by CNN pundit Bill Schneider at Third Way, a think tank in Washington. The first questions were on the recent troubles in Annapolis -- the legislature adjourned last week without approving the budget that leaders had agreed upon.
O'Malley told the group that a "silly bomb of gambling" went off on the final day of the legislative session, creating a budget deadlock that left the state with a budget that deeply cuts Democratic priorities like education.
Schneider, a senior political analyst at CNN, said his impression is that Maryland was "held hostage" by a gambling expansion bill that passed in the Senate, but encountered resistance from the House. "I would have hoped that we would have been done with the gaming issue," O'Malley responded. "I think we will be able to sort this out."
National political analysts have said that a lingering Annapolis impasse could tarnish O'Malley's good-government and pro-education credentials. But after an initial round of questions Friday, reporters did not dwell on the topic.
The governor was asked about his perceived presidential ambitions. As he has in the past he deflected the questions, saying that he's focused now on governing Maryland.
He also took some jabs at the Republican party, which he believes has strayed from the economy. "Nothing says jobs like transvaginal probes," O'Malley said, referring to the controversial legislation backed by VA Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, that would have required some women to undergo the invasive procedure before having an abortion.