It’s a battle that's been brewing all week -- that came to a head tonight on national TV Wednesday night -- Martin O'Malley versus Rick Perry, Maryland versus Texas.
The forum was CNN's "Crossfire" show, hosted by former Obama aide Stephanie Cutter and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
There appeared to be only thing Governors O'Malley and Perry agreed on:
“Trying to say that Texas and Maryland are the same are talking a lot like apples and oranges,” Perry said.
“”Oh they're very different,” O’Malley responded.
“They truly are very different,” said Perry.
And it's not just the weather.
Different -- Perry says -- because of the business climate, including lower taxes.
Perry is running a radio ad in Maryland. And on Wednesday he visited the gunmaker Beretta at its manufacturing plant in Prince George's County. His goal is to lure Beretta and other companies to Texas.
“I mean we pray for rain in Texas, they tax it in Maryland,” Perry said after the tour.
On Crossfire, Gov. O'Malley said there's plenty of business being done here.
“We have great companies, Lockheed Martin, Under Armour, Marriott and others in Maryland, and they're great companies,” he said.
“And we're recruiting them to Texas," Perry responded.
“Well and you're welcome to try,” said O’Malley.
“We are,” said Perry.
“I know you are," said O’Malley.
“I'm here and I'm making progress," said Perry.
O'Malley pointed out that Maryland's public schools are consistently rated at or near the best in the country. He said even if taxes are higher here, so are incomes.
“We have the number one median income in the country. You have the 25th median income,” O’Malley said.
If you're looking for a big difference -- other than size (you could fit more than 20 Marylands into Texas) – look to the Affordable Care Act.
Maryland has pushed as much as any other state to implement the new health care law.
Texas, has resisted “Obamacare” at every turn.
“We're not going to sit there and allow for Washington, DC to make decisions for how health care is delivered in the state of Texas, and bankrupt our state,” Perry said.
At the end of the show CNN asked viewers where they would rather live. Maryland got 56 percent of the votes, to 44 percent for Texas.
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