Presidential talk follows Maryland’s governor. Virginia Democrats try to limit the power of the commonwealth’s attorney general. And Metro inches closer to naming a new leader. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Guests

  • Tom Sherwood Resident Analyst; NBC 4 reporter; and Columnist for the Current Newspapers
  • Kevin Robillard Political Reporter, TBD.com
  • Brian Moran Chairman, Virginia Democratic Party; Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates (D-46th District, Alexandria)
  • Alex Mooney Chairman, Maryland Republican Party

Politics Hour Extra

Brian Moran, Chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, discusses his feelings about Gov. Bob McDonnell’s plans to improve transportation. Moran said the governor is “raiding the cupboards of future governors” and accused McDonnell of borrowing against future federal revenues that may or may not materialize to fund current transportation projects:

Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, Alex Mooney, talks about why he thinks moving to the middle may be detrimental to recruiting new members of the party in his state. Mooney also discusses his opposition to civil unions and gay marriage:

Transcript

  • 12:06:44

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Politics Hour," starring Tom Sherwood. I'm Kojo Nnamdi. Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC 4 and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. Last week, he disclosed for those people who were encouraging him to run for an at-large seat in the District of Columbia City Council that he is not going to be doing that. Have you changed your mind since last week?

  • 12:07:23

    MR. TOM SHERWOODI am -- one thing I am not, I am not wishy-washy, and I may just be very rude today because, you know, apparently the rudest placed around, so...

  • 12:07:30

    NNAMDIYeah. Did you see that survey?

  • 12:07:30

    SHERWOOD...I feel like I have a new license to be rude.

  • 12:07:33

    NNAMDIDid you see that survey that said...

  • 12:07:35

    SHERWOODYes, I did.

  • 12:07:35

    NNAMDI...we're just behind Los Angeles and New York when it comes to rudeness in Washington.

  • 12:07:39

    SHERWOODThat...

  • 12:07:39

    NNAMDIThis used to be a sleepy Southern polite town.

  • 12:07:42

    SHERWOODWell, it still is if you know the right people.

  • 12:07:44

    NNAMDIOh, okay.

  • 12:07:45

    SHERWOODNot all these imports that we have. I do hope they keep coming and pay the taxes.

  • 12:07:49

    NNAMDISpeaking...

  • 12:07:49

    SHERWOODWe have bad traffic, and we have rude people.

  • 12:07:52

    NNAMDISpeaking of imports, we have imported a new guest analyst today. He is Kevin Robillard, who is a political reporter for TBD.com, where he also writes the site's Facts Machine blog. That's facts spelled F-A-C-T-S. Kevin, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 12:08:08

    MR. KEVIN ROBILLARDGlad to be here, Kojo.

  • 12:08:09

    NNAMDIAre you from Washington or from this area?

  • 12:08:11

    ROBILLARDNo, I am not.

  • 12:08:12

    NNAMDII knew he was an import.

  • 12:08:13

    ROBILLARDI am from the suburbs of Boston, moved here to go to University of Maryland College Park.

  • 12:08:19

    SHERWOODAnd do you live in town? Let's get the grilling out of the way.

  • 12:08:21

    ROBILLARDI live in D.C. I live in D.C., yes.

  • 12:08:23

    SHERWOODOkay.

  • 12:08:23

    NNAMDIDo you understand that when you move here, you can no longer root for the Boston Red Sox, you can no longer...

  • 12:08:29

    SHERWOODCeltics.

  • 12:08:30

    ROBILLARDIt's gonna be a difficult thing.

  • 12:08:30

    MR. BRIAN MORANDon't believe a word he's saying.

  • 12:08:31

    NNAMDIYou can...

  • 12:08:31

    ROBILLARDIt's a difficult thing to ask.

  • 12:08:33

    NNAMDIYou can no longer root for the football team. You can -- why, Brian Moran, you root for...

  • 12:08:37

    MORANHey.

  • 12:08:37

    NNAMDI...the Red Sox?

  • 12:08:38

    MORANWell, I'm a Redskins fan...

  • 12:08:40

    SHERWOODWell...

  • 12:08:40

    MORAN...but I am also a big Red Sox fan and New England Patriots. So I'm very -- still very depressed after last week's result.

  • 12:08:48

    ROBILLARDYeah.

  • 12:08:48

    NNAMDIAh, yeah, the New England Patriots beaten by the New York Jets last week. Brian Moran is the chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party. He wasn’t supposed to be in the discussion just yet, but he barged in. He's...

  • 12:08:59

    SHERWOODThe new Democratic Party.

  • 12:09:00

    MORANWell, I have to defend the suburbs of Boston after all.

  • 12:09:04

    NNAMDIHe's a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Before we get to Brian Moran, Tom Sherwood, a couple of issues I'd like to discuss with you. It's not really a matter of who's running for the at-large seat on the D.C. City Council. It seems to be becoming more a matter of who's not running. Last week, we had Sekou Biddle on. He is the member who is currently occupying that seat, but the election is just a few weeks away in April. And we thought that former transportation -- what was that?

  • 12:09:36

    SHERWOODGabe Klein.

  • 12:09:36

    ROBILLARDGabe Klein.

  • 12:09:37

    NNAMDINo, not his name.

  • 12:09:37

    SHERWOODDirector of transportation.

  • 12:09:39

    NNAMDITitle -- we thought Gabe Klein was running. He's not running. It was rumored that Leo Alexander, who ran for mayor, was running. He's not running. Who's running?

  • 12:09:46

    SHERWOODI think there are 19 now. Just -- I'd recommend to the Board of Elections we just put the phonebook on the ballot. (laugh) That would be kinda nice. But, you know, it's -- I think that's good. You know, we have a special election. This is a unique opportunity. It's nonpartisan. It means everyone and anyone who's registered can vote. You have to just get three -- I know something about this. You have to get 3,000 citywide signatures to get on the ballot. Many of those 19 -- and probably will be more -- will not make it onto the ballot, but we may have 10 or 12 on the ballot. So it's gonna be -- I know Vincent Orange, a former councilmember, who has run for the chairmanship back in 1990 and then he -- Ward 5 councilmember for a couple of terms, and he ran for mayor. And then, he ran most recently for this seat of the Democratic Party. I'm also recommending that we just permanently imprint Vincent Orange's name on the ballot.

  • 12:10:40

    NNAMDIBecause he's been running for so many positions.

  • 12:10:42

    SHERWOODYeah. But he has a very good name recognition, and in this kinda race...

  • 12:10:45

    NNAMDIBut, Kevin, you know who would have had an even higher name recognition had they agreed to be on that ballot than Vincent Orange?

  • 12:10:53

    ROBILLARDI'm not sure who exactly you're referring to.

  • 12:10:54

    NNAMDITom Sherwood. He would have had...

  • 12:10:57

    ROBILLARDI thought the answer was Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 12:10:59

    MORANYeah.

  • 12:10:59

    SHERWOODKojo, we tried to run Kojo for mayor.

  • 12:11:01

    NNAMDIFor mayor, but I wouldn't go for that.

  • 12:11:02

    MORANYeah. Kojo for mayor. Wasn't that a city paper cover story...

  • 12:11:04

    SHERWOODThat's true.

  • 12:11:04

    MORAN...way back when?

  • 12:11:05

    NNAMDIYes, it was a cover story way back.

  • 12:11:06

    SHERWOODWe had a campaign theme song. We had everything but substance.

  • 12:11:09

    NNAMDIWay back a very long time ago. Any take on who's likely? Any odds on who's likely to win this race, this at-large council seat?

  • 12:11:17

    ROBILLARDI think it's -- with -- it's three months out. There's 18 people potentially on the ballot. I think it's very hard to tell. One thing is the, I guess, the establishment of the Democratic Party seems to have united around Biddle. Mayor Vince Gray endorsed him last night at a fundraiser, and it's somewhat surprising that, well, I guess, it's not really surprising that they're trying to avoid what happened in 1997 when David Catania, who was then a Republican, sort of snuck in and won. And now, Patrick Mara, another Republican, is threatening to do the same this time.

  • 12:11:51

    SHERWOODWell, you know, the problem is whoever -- if a strong candidate steps forward or one of these emerges as a strong candidate, it'd be very easy to run against the power bosses of the do-nothing Democratic state committee. It wouldn't be very hard to do it all.

  • 12:12:03

    ROBILLARDMm-hmm.

  • 12:12:04

    NNAMDIWell, we talked about this last week, so I got to bring it up at least in -- pretty quickly. Michael Brown, at-large councilmember, has paid all of his taxes last week. We talked about the fact that he owe...

  • 12:12:13

    SHERWOODWell, we don't know he might have incurred some new ones in the last week, but he has -- he did make a good effort. I mean, he wants to raise taxes on millionaires in the city.

  • 12:12:20

    NNAMDIYes.

  • 12:12:20

    SHERWOODAnd apparently, he's not one of them, but he owed some taxes. Right after the Post story, The Washington Post story, where -- I think it was the Post who did it.

  • 12:12:28

    ROBILLARDYes, it was the Post.

  • 12:12:28

    SHERWOODYes. We give them fair treatment. The -- he sent a check over. Why in the world he couldn't send a check over before he gets such terrible publicity, I don't know.

  • 12:12:38

    NNAMDIWell, he's done it. Care to comment at all, Kevin?

  • 12:12:39

    ROBILLARDWell, his explanation to the Post and then he has repeated this several times after was that he was under the impression his mortgage company was paying his property taxes in some way. I don't have a mortgage so I'll leave that to people with mortgages to see whether that made sense .

  • 12:12:53

    SHERWOODIt is possible, but he's supposed to know what his mortgage is.

  • 12:12:56

    ROBILLARDYeah.

  • 12:12:57

    NNAMDIOkay. Metro has apparently made a selection for its next leader. All signs seem to be pointing to...

  • 12:13:04

    ROBILLARDRichard Sarles, who's the current interim general manager.

  • 12:13:07

    NNAMDIWhat do your sources tell you?

  • 12:13:09

    ROBILLARDMy sources tell me that Martin O'Malley sort of spilled the beans about an hour ago, but that sort was the longtime rumor was that he sort of had won everyone over during his time as the interim GM. The search had taken a lot longer than they anticipated, so.

  • 12:13:25

    NNAMDIWhat do your sources tell you, Tom Sherwood?

  • 12:13:27

    SHERWOODWell, they -- sources for a couple days now been saying that it is Richard Sarles. He's the consensus candidate. He will not be a long-term general manager, but he -- people are looking for either a tough CEO who could manage the place or a transit expert who would know what to do, and so they're think in Sarles they have a combination of someone who does know the transit system and now has been there long enough to run the place.

  • 12:13:47

    NNAMDII'm glad you both said that because here's what Richard Sarles had to say to us when he asked him about this last year. What is the possibility maybe even the likelihood that at some point along the way, you may change your mind and throw your hat in the ring for the permanent position.

  • 12:14:04

    MR. RICHARD SARLESIt's unlikely. It's unlikely.

  • 12:14:06

    NNAMDIAt this point?

  • 12:14:07

    SARLESLife can always bring different changes, but at this point, from what I see, and the commitment I made to the board when I came is I'm not a candidate.

  • 12:14:16

    NNAMDII made a commitment to the board when I came. I'm not a candidate.

  • 12:14:17

    SHERWOODWell, yes. But the commitment was he would not become a candidate. He did not make a commitment that he would not accept a draft by the board to become the person, and some people are suggesting -- some board members, well, of the candidates, we don't know who they are, he was kinda the consensus. He wasn’t the best person around that they thought, but some of the best people didn't want to come in because Metro is in total turmoil. The jurisdictions, Maryland, Virginia and D.C., are disrupting -- are turning upside down the way it's going to be managed. There's a lot going on. The place is falling apart. There are union issues. I mean, it's a big thing to take on.

  • 12:14:52

    NNAMDIWhat don't you understand about I'm not a candidate? Now he's got the job?

  • 12:14:57

    SHERWOODThat was at the time.

  • 12:14:58

    ROBILLARDThat was at the time. I mean, I guess, it looks like who would want this job when they're about to completely change around the management structure. It makes sense to sort of make him if, as Tom said, he's likely to sort of be a short-term guy, you know, keep him there while they change the management structure and then try to recruit someone else.

  • 12:15:16

    SHERWOODIt might be good.

  • 12:15:16

    NNAMDIThis is Washington where words are merely wind.

  • 12:15:19

    SHERWOODNo, but he wasn’t -- at the time, he wasn’t a candidate. But if he's been there long enough now, he can make some tough decisions knowing that he's not going to be there to get some gold key five, six, seven years from now. He will be there maybe three years or something and turn the place around.

  • 12:15:31

    NNAMDITom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC 4 and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. Kevin Robillard is our guest analyst today. He's a political reporter for TBD.com, where he also writes the site's Facts Machine. Facts spelled F-A-C-T-S. Two years ago, people were talking about Virginia turning blue. There was a Democratic governor, two Democratic senators and a presidential candidate that carried Virginia for the first time in over a generation. The chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party joins us in studio. He is Brian Moran, former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Brian Moran, the Virginia Democratic Party that you have taken over as chairman has since the time I talked about it been completely swept out of statewide offices, lost its grip on the commonwealth's -- congressional delegation, how did that all happen?

  • 12:16:24

    MORANBesides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like to play? (laugh)

  • 12:16:26

    ROBILLARDThank you very much.

  • 12:16:27

    MORANWell, let me say I've been around Virginia politics now for, I guess, three -- two-and-a-half decades, and I know enough that there are ups and downs.

  • 12:16:37

    NNAMDIReversals of fortune.

  • 12:16:37

    MORANReversals of fortune. And the good news is we still have two very well-liked and successful United States senators, which we didn't have back in 2001. We had -- after redistricting, it's kinda of good period of time. It was base period of time, and we've now two United States senators, very popular.

  • 12:17:00

    SHERWOODBut -- let's go to that because that's a big issue for you right now. You know the state very well. Jim Webb who won an upset victory over George Allen is up for re-election next year. Unless I've missed it in the last few days while my allergies were acting up, Webb has not yet said whether he's gonna run. What's the feeling? I mean, obviously, you think he should be thinking.

  • 12:17:21

    MORANIt's clearly he'd be a strong candidate if he decides to run for re-election. We are presuming and working off the presumption that indeed he is running for re-election.

  • 12:17:30

    SHERWOODWhen is your Jefferson Jackson, what is that big dinner you have?

  • 12:17:32

    MORANWe have a Jefferson Jackson annual dinner.

  • 12:17:34

    SHERWOODWhen is that?

  • 12:17:35

    MORANAnd that is February 19th.

  • 12:17:36

    SHERWOODIs that where he can maybe make a big dramatic announcement?

  • 12:17:39

    MORANWe'd welcome that but -- Senator Webb has his own timetable. I believe he's discussed early spring, into the first quarter, so he can determine -- as it turns out, the Republicans are facing a divisive primary for the nomination, previous -- the former Governor George Allen and others are running for the nomination, so I think Senator Webb has time to make the decision that we are working out the presumptions (word?).

  • 12:18:09

    SHERWOODIf Webb didn't run, would you run?

  • 12:18:11

    MORANNo.

  • 12:18:11

    SHERWOODWould you consider running?

  • 12:18:12

    MORANNo, I'm not running.

  • 12:18:13

    SHERWOODIs this like the Metro general manager, you know, not at this time. (laugh)

  • 12:18:16

    MORANLet me say I am an avid Metro rider now. I ride it every day, and I do wish him the best of luck in that position. I recognize there are some shortcomings in Metro, but I'm a big fan.

  • 12:18:27

    NNAMDISo do I. I ride Metro quite frequently myself. Any questions for Brian Moran?

  • 12:18:31

    ROBILLARDIf Webb wasn’t going to run, who would you guys be looking at for candidates? I know some people have mentioned Tim McCain could leave the DNC and become a candidate. Who else would potentially be on that shortlist, do you think?

  • 12:18:46

    MORANWe have a deep bench, but, Kevin, he's running and so we're working of that presumption that Senator Webb will run for re-election and be re-elected in 2012.

  • 12:18:53

    NNAMDIIf you have questions for the chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party, Brian Moran, call us 800-433-8850. Or you can send e-mail to kojo@wamu.org. To the extent that there's been an enthusiasm gap recently in Virginia for Democrats, how do you re-ignite that enthusiasm, and what can you do in your position as party chairman to facilitate that?

  • 12:19:16

    MORANWell, there are several things. One of which, of course, is you have to run strong candidates, and we do have a state Senate right now that is in a majority Democratic hands which again, we didn't have back in 2001, so it's not quite as bad as you've described it.

  • 12:19:30

    NNAMDIThat's my job.

  • 12:19:31

    MORANWe -- I recognize that. So we have a strong majority in the state Senate. Number one priority this year, we actually have elections this year, which is fairly unique national -- nationwide. We have legislative races. We will keep...

  • 12:19:44

    SHERWOODAll 140 seats, right?

  • 12:19:45

    MORAN...all 140 seats.

  • 12:19:46

    SHERWOODHouse and Senate.

  • 12:19:47

    MORANThat's right, 140 state Senators, 100 House members will be up for re-election. And we're gonna maintain that state Senate, and we're gonna do our best to pick up seats in the House of Delegates. And then we'll -- and that will roll right into a successful 2012. I have no reason to believe that President Barack Obama can't win Virginia once again. I think he will win Virginia in 2012. So...

  • 12:20:12

    SHERWOODWhat are the tea leaves for that? I mean, he's had dropped in his favorability ratings among independents and conservatives who -- I mean, what says that he's gonna be popular in Virginia?

  • 12:20:26

    MORANWell, I think that you'll see -- you've seen his poll numbers, by the way, going up because he's focusing on the economy. People are now recognizing the benefits of his health care plan, for example. Just today, Secretary Sebelius announced that 74,000 Virginians have received the benefit from the prescription drug benefit from the Health Care Act. So as this gets further debated, and people recognize the benefits of President Obama's national health care policy, I think you'll see a better understanding and there's more popular appreciation of what the President has been able to accomplish over the last two years. And the economy, of course, is number one, and I think you're gonna see some improvements in the economy as well and job growth. And so the President will benefit from that.

  • 12:21:14

    NNAMDIWe're interested in hearing from you. What is your opinion of how the Democrats are likely to fare in the Commonwealth of Virginia? 800-433-8850. The general assembly is open for business enrichment. Gov. McDonnell has laid out his agenda. It includes some not so conservative ideas like borrowing money to tackle roads. But do you think the party should be willing to work with the governor? And where do you think Democrats need to be prepared to draw the line in Richmond this year?

  • 12:21:42

    MORANGreat. We should reach out and work with the governor as well -- as long as he's willing to reach across the aisle as well. I mean, as President Kennedy said 50 years ago, never negotiate out of fear, but never fear to negotiate. And that is what the -- as a Bostonian over there, Kevin, you may recall that great inauguration speech.

  • 12:22:02

    NNAMDIBut Kevin's three years old. He doesn't...

  • 12:22:04

    ROBILLARDI was about three years (unintelligible)

  • 12:22:05

    MORANI doubt he was even…

  • 12:22:06

    SHERWOODLet's don't be youth bashing.

  • 12:22:08

    MORANI was barely -- but -- so we (unintelligible) I mean, the governor has -- Gov. McDonnell has appropriately recognized some of the challenges Virginia faces, certainly, transportation. As you previously said, we're number one in congestion. Northern Virginia -- it shouldn't be no surprise to any of your listeners that we've been suffering on a transportation crisis for several years. The economy, job creation, education, higher education, Gov. McDonnell has talked about. Now how he plans on addressing those issues is where we will indeed draw the line because the President -- the governor, Gov. McDonnell, is attacking the education fund. He's taking money out. He's proposing taking money out of the education fund to pay for roads. In addition to that, he's proposed substantial debt that he doesn't have a satisfactory way to pay for.

  • 12:23:04

    SHERWOODThis is a major change in any governor, Republican or Democrat, who's come in and tried to do this much borrowing. That's gonna be...

  • 12:23:10

    MORANI would agree with you, Tom. I mean...

  • 12:23:12

    SHERWOODI'm not saying it's a good or bad idea because, frankly, I don't know. But it just seems like he wants to really make an imprint that this -- he was the transportation governor, that everyone else talked about it. I did it.

  • 12:23:23

    MORANWell, he's not going to be able to do it because one, it's over borrowing. It really is borrowing and spending. And he's raiding the cupboards of future governors and to try to accelerate spending today and, frankly, money we do not have. One of the proposals he's planned is that we're going to accelerate receipt of federal money. Well, as you have reported, what is happening in Congress right now, with the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives, they're proposing cutting back on transportation spending, returning levels to 2008 spending level.

  • 12:24:03

    SHERWOODTaking 150 million right out of Metro even.

  • 12:24:06

    MORANSo here's the governor planning, you know, what, we're gonna accelerate receipt of federal funds. We're gonna borrow against future federal revenue that frankly may not exist. So it's a very risky proposition. Virginia has enjoyed a tradition of fiscal prudence with both Democrat and Democratic governors. We balance our budgets. We have enjoyed AAA bond ratings. So we really take great pride in our fiscal stewardship.

  • 12:24:32

    SHERWOODAnd pay as you go.

  • 12:24:33

    MORANAnd pay as you go. And what the governor's proposing is a very risky scheme to indulge, you know, and some -- maybe some short-term benefit but some very long-term problems from a fiscal point of view. And I'm quite confident the Senate Democrats will prevent him from engaging in that risky financial behavior.

  • 12:24:54

    NNAMDIKevin Robillard.

  • 12:24:56

    ROBILLARDWell, he's pledged not to raise taxes. So what other way do you see -- what kind of compromise could be reached to get more transportation fund again, without raising taxes? Is there one?

  • 12:25:07

    MORANWell, for the period of eight years, while I served in the legislation and worked with Gov. Warner and Gov. Kaine, we proposed a number of transportation solutions, all of which Gov. McDonnell and the House Republicans opposed. We proposed any number of plans to address Northern Virginia Transportation...

  • 12:25:26

    SHERWOODDedicated sales tax, was it? Or was -- that was one…

  • 12:25:28

    MORANThat was one of the plans. We had a -- essentially, we worked on trying to identify a reliable source of revenue. Borrowing, in and of itself, may not be bad as long as you have a way to pay for the debt, the interest. And that's not what the governor -- current governor is proposing. We did, over the last eight years, come up with a financial plan that would identify sustainable source of revenue to support the borrowing. That was the responsible way to approach it. They defeated it, and now it's up to Gov. McDonnell and his Republican Party to come up with a plan that's responsible and addresses our transportation problem.

  • 12:26:03

    SHERWOODI'm very fatalistic about Northern Virginia traffic. I feel like it's gonna always be bad like Los Angeles traffic. People talk about it as it's always bad no matter how many roads they do, no matter how many bicycles they buy. It just seems to me that Northern Virginia is doomed because of the policies over the last 35 years.

  • 12:26:21

    MORANOh, well...

  • 12:26:22

    NNAMDIDoomed.

  • 12:26:23

    MORANI don't take that pessimistic (unintelligible), though I do take Metro now. The traffic frustrates me to a great a deal. I'm a little impatient on the roads. But there were number of concerns that we can't throw up our hands and concede that we're just gonna have to put up with this terrible traffic.

  • 12:26:40

    SHERWOODObliterate Arlington and make a big interchange.

  • 12:26:43

    MORANThat – neither is that a good proposal.

  • 12:26:47

    NNAMDIYes.

  • 12:26:47

    MORANOh, Arlington, a wonderful place to live and work. And speaking of work, I mean that's one of the things why we need to address our transportation problems because in this difficult economy, it's important for us to attract new jobs, new business to Northern Virginia and the rest of commonwealth. And transportation is something that people look at. What kind of quality of life and the costs that you incur because of the additional traffic, the public safety concerns that occur because of the additional traffic. So we have to be more optimistic about how we approach this...

  • 12:27:18

    SHERWOODOkay.

  • 12:27:19

    MORAN...and try to come up with some solutions.

  • 12:27:21

    NNAMDIOur guest is Brian Moran. He's the chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party. Here is Victor, who is at National Airport. Victor happens to be a cab driver. Victor, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:27:32

    VICTORThank you for my -- taking my call. I'm just trying to ask the chairman on what mandate has there -- actually do not got to sue for the repeal of the Obamacare on behalf of the citizens of Virginia.

  • 12:27:48

    NNAMDIIt's under a 2002 statute designed to catch government employees defrauding the public of tax dollars but you, I think, also wanted to ask why are Brian Moran and the Democrats allowing the attorney general to do this?

  • 12:28:03

    VICTORExactly.

  • 12:28:03

    MORANWell, we're not -- we didn't have a lot of say in it. Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli didn't ask for it before he sued the -- we totally -- we oppose what he has done, and he's done it in a way that I think he scored a number of political points among his constituent base. But if he was concerned about the health care plan, there are a number of other attorney generals that were planning to sue. We could have joined that lawsuit. I believe it's as many as 22 other attorney generals. Instead, he went alone on this, spent a lot of Virginia taxpayer dollars on this pursuit. And though, scoring political points, I think, he spent a lot of Virginia taxpayer dollars unwisely and we would, you know, we have certainly opposed his effort to repeal the Health Care Act.

  • 12:28:57

    NNAMDII was incorrect. The lawsuit that I was referring to was the lawsuit that the attorney general filed at the University of Virginia, involving the research that was being conducted by a professor there. Attorney general...

  • 12:29:10

    MORANOur attorney general has been litigious.

  • 12:29:12

    NNAMDIHe is gonna be joining us on this broadcast next week. Democrats nationwide seem to love to get riled up about him. But they're floating a proposal to limit his power, that's why I was thinking of the university, specifically his authority to public -- to subpoena public universities. What is your opinion of what he's doing? And do you think picking a fight with him like this is worth it at this point?

  • 12:29:34

    MORANWell, it's unfortunate that the legislature has to pursue limiting his power. We would hope the attorney general would exercise his authority in a responsible and prudent manner. But rather, Atty. Gen. Cuccinelli really has spearheaded a number of politically motivated lawsuits. The one with UVA cannot be interpreted in any other way. I mean, to try to pursue a particular faculty member at UVA because he has espoused views that, frankly, the scientific community all around the world agrees with him on that indeed we are experiencing global climate warming, despite Mr. Cuccinelli's adamant opposition to accepting that scientific fact. So the issue itself is somewhat mysterious that he would even pursue this.

  • 12:30:26

    MORANBut the chilling effect that Atty. Gen. Cuccinelli's effort to do on our entire academic freedom that the faculty at every college, university in the commonwealth of Virginia, you know, chilling impact that it can have that anything that they work on that's been subject to attorney general's subpoena power bringing them to court and to review it, I mean, I don't think that is the role of the attorney general. I suspect most of Virginians don't believe it's the role what the attorney general should be doing.

  • 12:30:54

    SHERWOODHe's had initial success on the health care, but is it -- I'm trying to say this in a simple sentence. He's challenging the right of the federal government to require people to buy health care insurance. Where does that stand now. Are you up to speed and where it is?

  • 12:31:06

    MORANSure. Well, he pursued it in Federal District Court in Richmond and it is now going on to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on appeal of that decision in the Richmond Federal Circuit Court.

  • 12:31:19

    NNAMDIThank you very much for your call, Victor. You too can call us at 800-433-8850. If you have questions for Brian Moran, he is chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party. How do you choose which issues are worth putting up a fight of the governor on -- take guns, for example. We got this e-mail from Andrew. "I am afraid of guns and people with guns. Why did Gov. McDonald feel it necessary to allow the open carry of weapons in state parks? This spreads fear for no good reason. What can anybody do? I urge people who believe in civil and civilized behavior to boycott any location and establishment where carrying weapons seems to outweigh safety, freedom and fear from common sense. I'm sure that a lot of political strategists would tell you right now, leave this alone. It's not worth it. You'd be picking a fight with the NRA." How would you respond?

  • 12:32:08

    MORANCertainly, the terrible tragedy in Tucson has highlighted, once again, the easy access to firearms, in this case, a person who suffered from mental illness. And I would encourage the legislature to once again review the laws that would prohibit someone who has that sort of mental illness have that easy access to weapons. You know, we came across this in Virginia. We had to respond to a horrible crisis at Virginia Tech, where someone, who again suffered from mental illness, killed a number of students at Virginia Tech, and many people still suffer from that tragedy. And, you know, we've tried to revamp on mental health laws to address that. And I would encourage Virginia nationally for us to continue to do that and deny that easy access.

  • 12:32:59

    SHERWOODThe governor says that, I think, I read it correctly that you said, well, there is no law that prohibits the open carry of guns in state parks. And there's no one, of course, compels it. So absent a state law on the subject, he told the state parks authority that you can't have a regulation, denying the guns.

  • 12:33:14

    NNAMDIBecause his predecessor is the one who had placed the ban...

  • 12:33:17

    SHERWOODRight.

  • 12:33:17

    NNAMDI...on carrying guns in public parks. So now, people can be packing heat in public parks. There's not much the Democrats can do about that, is there?

  • 12:33:24

    MORANElections have consequences. And I'd encourage Andrew to exercise his right to vote and get involved in the next Democratic campaign...

  • 12:33:35

    NNAMDIKevin...

  • 12:33:36

    MORAN...due to -- elections make a difference.

  • 12:33:38

    NNAMDIKevin Robillard?

  • 12:33:39

    ROBILLARDWell, I mean, do you think that this would potentially be -- is gun control at all a winning issue for Democrats in Virginia? I know even some...

  • 12:33:48

    NNAMDII can answer that. I can -- no, go ahead. (laugh)

  • 12:33:50

    ROBILLARDNo, I mean, even on occasion, you know, you've seen Tom Davis wasn't, you know, a strong second amendment sort of hock. And he was a moderate Republican. But, do you think that it's an issue that you guys are gonna be wanting to bring up at all?

  • 12:34:04

    MORANWell, I think right now, the voters of Virginia are very concerned about the economy. They're concerned about job creation. I hear in Northern Virginia, they suffer in terrible transportation and traffic problems every morning. So I think you need to address those quality life issues that our constituents and fellow Virginians have to face every day. And that means you got to address the economy. Let's get -- invest in our economy. Let's make smart decisions about education funding. And we need to make sure that we're properly investing in our youth, in our future by investing in education.

  • 12:34:38

    SHERWOODYou mentioned about the economy earlier -- in your earlier remarks, you know? And that is for incumbent officer without -- that would include any Republicans in the region. The economy does seem, after these horrible last three years, to be shaking off some of the worst aspects and starting to turn around with jobs nationwide. And in this -- our region has done very well. Of course, if the Republicans in the House got their way in cutting out a couple trillion dollars of spending. I don't like that -- would that do to the Northern Virginia, and suburban Maryland economies?

  • 12:35:08

    MORANYeah. (laugh)

  • 12:35:09

    SHERWOODNot that you have to spend money just to prop them up, but...

  • 12:35:10

    MORANWell -- sure.

  • 12:35:11

    SHERWOOD...it's basically our business that they're talking about.

  • 12:35:14

    MORANIndeed. And Northern Virginia enjoys the unemployment rate of -- under 5 percent. And much -- and due to federal government spending, whether it by federal agencies or spending...

  • 12:35:28

    SHERWOODContractors.

  • 12:35:29

    MORANContracts. So, you know, federal government and our economy are integrally linked. And I know our congressmen will be fighting for, you know -- that spending that makes sure that our economy continues to hum along in Northern Virginia. And, again, making those critical investments in transportation, in education, so that we can diversify our economy, and that we won't be (unintelligible) ...

  • 12:35:50

    SHERWOODDo you think Congressman Eric Cantor, the Republican leader in the House from Virginia, do you think he understands the cost cutting that he wants to do or suggests he wants to do would have direct impact on the commonwealth?

  • 12:36:05

    MORANWell, proposing this...

  • 12:36:06

    SHERWOODI mean, he has an answer, but...

  • 12:36:07

    MORANYeah. I'm sure, you know -- I would hope he would make -- he would consider his own state's economy and its dependence on some of the spending to generate the job growth that's...

  • 12:36:18

    SHERWOODI'm sure there's some wasteful spending in the federal government, though, somewhere.

  • 12:36:23

    NNAMDIHere's Debby in Great Falls, Va. Hi, Debby.

  • 12:36:26

    DEBBYHello. I wanted to make a couple more comments about Ken Cuccinelli...

  • 12:36:32

    NNAMDIPlease try to make them brief. We're running out of time.

  • 12:36:35

    DEBBYOkay. Well, he -- also when he first came into office, he tried to tell the state university system that they weren't allowed to provide anti-discrimination protection for gay and lesbian students. That's another one of his really ridiculous assertions. And I just wanted to know what your panelists thought about that.

  • 12:36:57

    MORANWell, she's right to...

  • 12:36:57

    NNAMDIYour thoughts, Brian Moran?

  • 12:36:58

    MORANHe's taking any number of very conservative interpretations of state law. And we've opposed him in those views. And, again, I'd encourage your callers and listeners to engage in the election. I mean, we're gonna have this very strong candidate against him in 2013. And access, you know -- elections have consequences. That's why in 2011, it's absolutely imperative that we keep a Senate majority Democrat and pick up seats in the House of Delegates, so that we have a balance. So that we have a balance to Governor McDonnell's attack and raid on education, his deficits spending. We need Democrats in the legislature to have a balance.

  • 12:37:43

    SHERWOODCan I ask one quick question about Democrats before we can move to another important subject? You're gonna have Martin O'Malley, the governor of Maryland at George-Jefferson -- what is it that Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner?

  • 12:37:53

    MORANJefferson-Jackson Day dinner.

  • 12:37:53

    SHERWOODIs it Jefferson-Jackson-King now, go to...

  • 12:37:56

    MORANWell, we...

  • 12:37:56

    SHERWOODActually, no, don't go in to that too long.

  • 12:37:57

    MORAN...we have separate Kennedy-King dinner but...

  • 12:37:58

    SHERWOODWhy Martin O'Malley?

  • 12:38:02

    MORANWell, because he's a very successful governor. He's reelected in what -- it was otherwise a difficult year for Democrats. And he's now of president of Democratic Governors Association. So I think he has a national perspective on job growth, proper investments in our economy. And so he'll be able to give that perspective. And, of course, it's a neighboring state...

  • 12:38:24

    SHERWOODGood segue.

  • 12:38:25

    MORANYeah.

  • 12:38:25

    NNAMDIIndeed. Because joining us now in studio is Alex Mooney. He's the chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. He is a former member of the Maryland Senate. Sen. Mooney, thank you very much for joining us.

  • 12:38:35

    SEN. ALEX MOONEYYou're welcome.

  • 12:38:35

    NNAMDIAnd one of the reasons we brought you in here while Brian Moran was in here, Delegate -- former Delegate Moran also, is because we wanted to do a little version of "American Idol" and involved both of you...

  • 12:38:48

    NNAMDI...Tom Sherwood and...

  • 12:38:48

    MOONEYI only sing in the shower, Tom Sherwood, and I don't...

  • 12:38:51

    NNAMDI...Kevin Robillard -- no, we were going to play some music for you, and...

  • 12:38:53

    MOONEYOh, boy.

  • 12:38:53

    NNAMDI...see if you wanted to make a judgment about the quality of this music that was recently on display publicly. Well, here it is.

  • 12:39:21

    NNAMDITom Sherwood, you clearly don't like it...

  • 12:39:24

    SHERWOODNo, no, I like it. (laugh) I'm just trying -- and why are we're playing "I Walk the Line?" That wasn't even the Johnny Cash version.

  • 12:39:28

    NNAMDIYeah. That was not the Johnny Cash...

  • 12:39:29

    MOONEYI know. Was that the version by a certain public official?

  • 12:39:34

    NNAMDIAh, yes. That was the version...

  • 12:39:35

    MOONEYYes.

  • 12:39:36

    NNAMDI...by a certain public official.

  • 12:39:37

    SHERWOODOh.

  • 12:39:37

    NNAMDIBrian Moran, would you...

  • 12:39:39

    MORANThat was wonderful. I would welcome him to...

  • 12:39:40

    NNAMDISee, he knows who it is.

  • 12:39:41

    SHERWOODWho is it? For those...

  • 12:39:43

    MORANI would welcome him, the governor, to perform at the (word?).

  • 12:39:48

    MORANI would welcome him to perform at the (unintelligible)...

  • 12:39:52

    NNAMDIYou see?

  • 12:39:53

    MOONEYWas this from his inauguration?

  • 12:39:54

    NNAMDIHe knew who it was. I think...

  • 12:39:56

    SHERWOODI thought it's an Irish band that played. You know, that's what a country music song. We don't need to be mixing it up in the genres. (laugh)

  • 12:40:01

    NNAMDIHow good do you think the performance of the song?

  • 12:40:03

    MORAN(word?) the show he's multi-talented.

  • 12:40:05

    SHERWOODIt was okay. But if you've heard Johnny Cash sing, no else can.

  • 12:40:11

    NNAMDIHow about...

  • 12:40:11

    SHERWOODThat's why people don't cover it.

  • 12:40:12

    NNAMDIHow about you, Alex Mooney, what do you think of the performance? (laugh) Do you think it would have been a passing grade on "American Idol"? Would he have moved on to the next round?

  • 12:40:19

    MOONEYI'm sure he would have. He's a talented singer.

  • 12:40:22

    NNAMDINo.

  • 12:40:22

    SHERWOODOh.

  • 12:40:22

    MOONEYI don't agree with his politics, but, you know, he's certainly a good singer.

  • 12:40:26

    NNAMDISo you got (unintelligible).

  • 12:40:26

    SHERWOODYou agree with me that Johnny Cash was better?

  • 12:40:30

    MOONEYJohnny Cash was definitely better.

  • 12:40:31

    NNAMDIKevin. Kevin, please give us a youthful opinion, more youthful opinion.

  • 12:40:33

    ROBILLARDI thought...

  • 12:40:33

    SHERWOODHe doesn't even know who Johnny Cash is.

  • 12:40:35

    NNAMDI(laugh) Yes, he does.

  • 12:40:36

    ROBILLARDHe had that one song that was a hit when he was like 80.

  • 12:40:38

    SHERWOODNo, he had like 30 hit songs.

  • 12:40:39

    ROBILLARDYeah. Well, no. I'm saying more recently within the past decade.

  • 12:40:45

    ROBILLARDBut...

  • 12:40:45

    SHERWOODYou better get back to politics.

  • 12:40:47

    ROBILLARDAnyway...

  • 12:40:48

    NNAMDIWhat is -- yes.

  • 12:40:48

    ROBILLARDYes. I thought he would make it to the next round on "American Idol."

  • 12:40:52

    NNAMDIWell, seems like I'm the only dissenter on this one. So you do make it to the next round, Governor O'Malley, and to another visit to this broadcast. Of course, you showed up today on a broadcast that nobody listened to, as Alex Mooney showed up on a broadcast that nobody but me watches. Brian Moran, thank you very much for coming to this popular broadcast.

  • 12:41:09

    MORANMy pleasure.

  • 12:41:10

    NNAMDIIt's good to see you again.

  • 12:41:11

    MORANNice to be with you , Kojo.

  • 12:41:12

    NNAMDIBrian Moran is chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party. He's a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. As we said, our new guest is Alex Mooney. He is the chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. He's a former member of the Maryland State Senate. We're taking your calls at 800-433-8850. That's 800-433-8850 or you can go to our website, kojoshow.org. Join the conversations there with your questions for Alex Mooney. For some time now, Bob Ehrlich, a Republican most people would peg as a moderate, has been the face of the Republican Party in Maryland. You beat his running mate from last year's gubernatorial race, Mary Kane, to win the job of state party chairman. How would you characterize the modern identity of the Maryland GOP and what do you think your ascent to this job says about it?

  • 12:42:01

    MOONEYWell, I think the Republican Party of Maryland wants somebody who sticks to their conservative views. I heard Brian Moran talking about the need for two-party system in Virginia and then Democrats to have a control of the chamber. Well, I don't know if he would agree, but in Maryland I would like to see the Republicans have control of at least one party of -- one chamber over there. Being a Republican in Maryland is a little bit like being a Democrat in Virginia, I guess, but it's reversed. So we do need a two-party system in Maryland and a lot of Democrats even believe that. Bob Ehrlich provided a wonderful contrast when he was governor, did a great job. I think he's a good candidate.

  • 12:42:33

    MOONEYI have nothing but good things to say about him. He did not get re-elected, and I think the party now is looking for a new leadership and different -- who we're gonna run for governor in three years, which is, you know, it's too far away to say, but certainly we need to make some gains. Maryland is unique in that unlike Virginia, where they have elections this year and every two years, we have elections once every four years. You get one shot in four years. Our entire House of Delegates isn't up but every four years. I believe we're one of only few states in the country where the House of Delegates get four-year terms, and they're not staggered.

  • 12:43:02

    MOONEYSo, you know, the Democrats will go. They wanna raise the gas tax this year and raise government, and there's really not a lot -- a chance to check and balance them. And that's frustrating, but that's the system we have. So I think we need to make some gains in Maryland incrementally at the legislative level. We did pick up six seats in the State House, we picked up a lot of seats in the county levels. Now there are different views, you know, what's the, you know, what's the future of the party, how do you handle it. It's my view that sticking to conservative principles is what brings people into the Republican Party. There are those who think the Republicans should be more liberal, more like Democrats. I do not agree with that. I'm not saying, you know, I'm not saying Mary Kane or anybody else agrees with that. And Governor Ehrlich, I thought, was pretty conservative and stuck to his principle.

  • 12:43:41

    SHERWOODBut when Senator...

  • 12:43:42

    NNAMDIWell, what do you feel about Independents? I mean, we were not -- I guess people are not saying bring liberals into the party.

  • 12:43:48

    MOONEYSure.

  • 12:43:48

    NNAMDIBut the only way you can grow the party is if you bring more people into it. And it would seem that the people you would wanna bring into it are the people who might be identified as Independents.

  • 12:43:58

    MOONEYYeah. And Independents, you know, on issues...

  • 12:43:59

    NNAMDIAnd in order to do that, you got to move to the left.

  • 12:44:02

    MOONEYYou know, I would think that's a misconception. I don't think you have to move to the left. I think Independents are looking for people who stick to their values as well. I know a lot of Independents -- if they're Independents and they can see both sides of various issues and they look at Democrats, they agree with what they hear there. They listen to Republicans, agree with what they hear there. I think they want people who stick to their principles. For example, you say move to the left. Identify an issue on which you should move to the left. That's the thing. A lot of people say that, be more moderate, but they won't pick an issue. Taxes? Do you think Independents want higher taxes? Heck no. I think Independents want lower taxes.

  • 12:44:29

    SHERWOODWhat about civil unions? Senator Allan Kittleman, who was -- I've forgotten his party title -- proposed that there'd be civil unions in the State of Maryland...

  • 12:44:39

    MOONEYMm-hmm. Right.

  • 12:44:40

    SHERWOOD...and now he's resigned his party position...

  • 12:44:43

    MOONEYRight.

  • 12:44:43

    SHERWOOD...because he feels like he wasn't in tune or...

  • 12:44:46

    MOONEYMm-hmm.

  • 12:44:46

    SHERWOOD...he was out of tune with the state party...

  • 12:44:47

    NNAMDIHe was the minority...

  • 12:44:48

    SHERWOODIs that correct? Was he out of tune?

  • 12:44:50

    MOONEYWell, on that particular issue, he's more to left of most Republicans. But we don’t have a litmus test in Republican Party, and I defended him publicly. I asked for him to stay on. And I disagree with that. I'm against civil unions. I'm for marriage between one man and one woman.

  • 12:45:02

    NNAMDIHow do you bring people into the party who favor civil unions?

  • 12:45:05

    MOONEYWell, they can agree with us on other issues. I mean, you wanna bring people into the party, a lot of Democrats don't agree with homosexual marriage. And whether you call it civil unions or whatever, it's -- to me, civil union is gay marriage by a different name, so to me it's all the same.

  • 12:45:18

    SHERWOODAnd abortion issues. These are, you know...

  • 12:45:19

    MOONEYYeah, I'm pro-life .

  • 12:45:21

    SHERWOOD...these are all the linchpin social issues...

  • 12:45:21

    MOONEYSure.

  • 12:45:22

    SHERWOOD...that needs to get somebody on the left and the right...

  • 12:45:23

    MOONEYAbsolutely. Absolutely.

  • 12:45:24

    SHERWOOD... who's eyes burning, their ears steaming.

  • 12:45:26

    MOONEYRight. But -- I would talk about building the base of the Republican Party, reaching out to Hispanics, African-Americans, Democrats that may be conservative. If you take a stand for marriage...

  • 12:45:35

    NNAMDIHey, sounding a lot like...

  • 12:45:35

    MOONEY... between one man and one woman, I think it brings them into the party. So that, you know, that cuts different ways.

  • 12:45:41

    NNAMDIKevin.

  • 12:45:42

    ROBILLARDDo you think there's any Republicans – most people expect gay marriage will finally get through the legislature this year. In the past, it's been held up in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Your loss...

  • 12:45:52

    MOONEYMy committee.

  • 12:45:52

    ROBILLARD...had something to do with that...

  • 12:45:53

    MOONEYYup.

  • 12:45:54

    ROBILLARDDo you expect any Republicans in either the House or the Senate to vote for it?

  • 12:45:58

    NNAMDIWell, Senator Kittleman for one, because he's gonna be (unintelligible)

  • 12:46:01

    ROBILLARDWell, he said civil unions, not gay marriage.

  • 12:46:03

    NNAMDIThat's true. You're correct. You are correct.

  • 12:46:03

    MOONEYI think you ought to watch Kittleman's bill a little more carefully. It doesn't go the way I think you might believe. His bill applies equally to heterosexuals...

  • 12:46:11

    ROBILLARDMm-hmm.

  • 12:46:11

    MOONEY...and homosexuals. So an elderly couple, for example, a man and woman maybe in their 70s receiving full retirements, if they get married, one loses retirement. So they can benefit from the civil unions under Kittleman's bill.

  • 12:46:22

    ROBILLARDMm-hmm.

  • 12:46:22

    MOONEYI do not believe the Democrat version will accept that. I believe the Democrats want gay marriage and that's it.

  • 12:46:26

    ROBILLARDMm-hmm.

  • 12:46:27

    MOONEYThey don't want heterosexuals included in civil unions.

  • 12:46:29

    ROBILLARDMm-hmm.

  • 12:46:29

    MOONEYI think they will shoot down Kittleman's bill. This is my prediction.

  • 12:46:31

    ROBILLARDMm-hmm.

  • 12:46:32

    MOONEYAnd they'll pass gay marriage, which exposes the real agenda. They don't -- it's not equality for all. They just want gay marriage. And so I don't...

  • 12:46:38

    NNAMDIIs Kittleman's bill something conservatives gonna accept?

  • 12:46:40

    MOONEYGay marriage? No, no. It's between one man and one woman.

  • 12:46:41

    NNAMDINo, no, no. Kittleman's bill.

  • 12:46:43

    MOONEYWell, I don't believe in civil unions at all. But at least, I don't think conservatives believe in civil unions.

  • 12:46:47

    NNAMDINot even for the elderly couple?

  • 12:46:49

    MOONEYNo, because – no, they should -- if you get married, you're supposed to take care of each other.

  • 12:46:51

    SHERWOODThe right...

  • 12:46:52

    MOONEYKittleman offered this as an amendment on the Senate floor a couple of years ago. This isn't necessarily new.

  • 12:46:56

    SHERWOODThe right to life march, I think, is Monday.

  • 12:46:58

    MOONEYYes. Yes

  • 12:46:58

    SHERWOODIt doesn't get nearly as much press coverage. Maybe we can discuss why that is...

  • 12:47:02

    MOONEYSure.

  • 12:47:02

    SHERWOOD...but I like to go to it even though I have told people personally I'm a choice person.

  • 12:47:06

    ROBILLARDMm-hmm.

  • 12:47:07

    SHERWOODBut as a journalist, I've covered the march any number of times...

  • 12:47:10

    ROBILLARDRight.

  • 12:47:10

    SHERWOOD...to, you know, air their views.

  • 12:47:12

    ROBILLARDRight.

  • 12:47:12

    SHERWOODBut do you think there's any move in -- both in the states -- I'm assuming now that you're anti-abortion...

  • 12:47:18

    MOONEYI'm pro-life.

  • 12:47:18

    SHERWOOD...but maybe -- you're pro-life...

  • 12:47:19

    MOONEYI call it pro-life.

  • 12:47:20

    SHERWOODI know, we always have to get the term...

  • 12:47:23

    SHERWOODIs that an issue -- is that a winning issue in Maryland -- and you're Catholic also, I understand.

  • 12:47:28

    MOONEYI am.

  • 12:47:28

    SHERWOODConservative Catholic, I think on your website I saw that. Is that gonna be an issue? Is that -- are these social...

  • 12:47:37

    MOONEYSure.

  • 12:47:38

    SHERWOOD...I mean, the social issues, are they gonna be wedge issues in bringing the Maryland Republican Party back?

  • 12:47:41

    MOONEYWell, that issue is race by race, you know, campaign by campaign. I'm glad you brought it up because a lot of people say you should be more liberal. Well, name the issue, at least you name it.

  • 12:47:49

    SHERWOODNo, I'm not asking to be more liberal.

  • 12:47:50

    MOONEYI know. You...

  • 12:47:51

    SHERWOODI just think the march is coming up Monday...

  • 12:47:53

    MOONEYSure.

  • 12:47:53

    SHERWOOD...and you don't hear much about it.

  • 12:47:54

    MOONEYWell, yeah. And that issue will never -- I don't think this issue is ever gonna go away. Even if abortion becomes outlawed in Maryland and the country, then the other side will push to make it legal. That issue is gonna be with us forever, in my opinion. Now, if you look at it, the Supreme Court has their ruling, so it's a Supreme Court issue right now whether it's legal or not. In Maryland, we're one of the few states that taxpayers fund abortions. So, again, you wanna contrast Republicans and Democrats.

  • 12:48:15

    SHERWOODAnd you would not do that if you had your authority.

  • 12:48:16

    MOONEYOf course not. No, taxpayers should not pay for people's abortions, and that's an extreme position the Democrat Party has. They keep -- I've offered the amendment to stop that when I was there. I was three to four votes short. So if abortion is an issue, you can talk to Independents, you can talk to Democrats and say, no matter where you stand on abortion, do you think tax dollar should fund other people abortions? And most of them say no. And that's where the Democrats, I think, are not with us.

  • 12:48:35

    NNAMDIOur guest is Alex Mooney, he is the chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. He is a former member of the Maryland Senate. Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC 4 and a columnist for The Current Newspapers. Kevin Robillard is our guest analyst today. He is a political reporter for TBD.com where he also writes the sites Fact Machine blog. Kevin Robillard.

  • 12:48:58

    ROBILLARDWell, do you think that right now, recently a late-term abortion clinic opened in Germantown. Are the Republicans gonna be offering any legislation or have they offered any of them I might have missed that will sort of attempt to shut that down or stop late-term abortions in Maryland?

  • 12:49:16

    MOONEYI haven't seen any offer. In the past, we've offered legislation...

  • 12:49:18

    NNAMDIKevin doesn't miss much.

  • 12:49:19

    MOONEY...simply, (laugh) well, I mean, and this is interesting. When the pro-abortion bill was passed in the '90s, the abortion clinics were not regulated.

  • 12:49:26

    ROBILLARDMm-hmm.

  • 12:49:27

    MOONEYAnd it's actually a travesty in the law. Every other clinic, you know, from veterinarians to any other medical procedure, you're at least regulated and gone through a permit process. Abortion clinics are waived from that. So I -- they should just be under the same regulations as everybody else.

  • 12:49:40

    ROBILLARDMm-hmm.

  • 12:49:40

    MOONEYNot even a controversial position just to say regulate them the same way you regulate everyone else. Don't give them special exception.

  • 12:49:46

    NNAMDIHere's Tom.

  • 12:49:46

    SHERWOODI know some Republicans are just salivating at -- getting 2012 here. So let's jump ahead. Do you personally -- maybe you're not allowed to have a candidate for the 2012 nomination. Are you a Sarah Palin conservative? Are you a Polenti conservative or…?

  • 12:50:03

    MOONEYAll of the above. I did support Romney the last time around. Four years ago, I was -- I ran as a Romney delegate. I still like Romney. I don't have a preferred candidate at this point. I like to see the field. You've got some...

  • 12:50:15

    SHERWOODMike Pence from Indiana.

  • 12:50:17

    MOONEYMike Pence is a sharp man. Haley Barbour from Mississippi. I don't think you should discount him. Sarah Palin is widely popular. I don't know if she's running. I do like her. So we got a lot of choices.

  • 12:50:25

    NNAMDIThere are several people on the phone who like to speak with you.

  • 12:50:28

    MOONEYOkay.

  • 12:50:28

    NNAMDILet's start with Mumin (sp?) in Chantilly, Va. Mumin, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:50:34

    MUMINThank you. You know, the Democratic Party believes that diversity is a strength. Do you believe that when candidate (unintelligible) said that diversity is a myth and bunk he was wrong to say that and doesn't recognize the fast growth in Americans in Maryland and the diversity we have in Maryland?

  • 12:50:55

    MOONEYDo I think he was wrong? I think...

  • 12:50:56

    NNAMDITo say diversity is a myth and bunk, according to Mumin.

  • 12:50:59

    MOONEYWell, I think he's misunderstanding what he was saying. I think he was simply saying, in America, we all live under the same rules. The Constitution applies equally to everybody regardless of race, color or creed. And we have a value system in this country, you know, from The 10 Commandments to what our forefathers...

  • 12:51:16

    SHERWOODNo. The 10 Commandments are...

  • 12:51:17

    MOONEYYeah, The 10 Commandments.

  • 12:51:17

    SHERWOOD...not an official part of the government.

  • 12:51:19

    MOONEYWell, it's a value system this country has embraced and what the law is based on. We can have a constitutional discussion what all the law is based on. But we have a value system that our forefathers, when they created the Constitution -- that everybody lives under. And anyone's welcome to come here. We have, you know, diverse...

  • 12:51:34

    SHERWOODBut we didn't change it, though. You know, we didn't -- black people couldn't vote...

  • 12:51:37

    MOONEYRight.

  • 12:51:37

    SHERWOOD...and women couldn't vote.

  • 12:51:38

    NNAMDIWe have amendments to the Constitution.

  • 12:51:39

    SHERWOODSo amendments are okay...

  • 12:51:40

    MOONEYAbsolutely.

  • 12:51:40

    SHERWOOD...as long as they're passed properly.

  • 12:51:42

    MOONEYAbsolutely, yeah.

  • 12:51:42

    SHERWOODOkay.

  • 12:51:43

    MOONEYThe Constitution. Our forefathers were very smart. They put our process in there.

  • 12:51:45

    SHERWOODI've read the Constitution. I'm not sure I'd want to live under it as it was written at that moment. But I'm -- there's probably good parts.

  • 12:51:50

    NNAMDIHere is Paias (sp?) in Manassas, Va. Paias, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:51:55

    PAIASYes. Yeah, hello. Kojo, how are you?

  • 12:51:58

    NNAMDII am well.

  • 12:51:59

    PAIASOkay. I have a question. My question is, I know that the Republicans always accuse the Democrats of killing babies, abortion. But the same Republicans always, you know, support the NRA to go ahead and produce guns, and these guns are used to kill ordinary people. Now (unintelligible) I'm asking your moderator. Every year, how many babies are killed by abortion and how many people are also dying in America here from the guns you guys encourage the NRA to sell to people, like the -- who shot the congresswoman?

  • 12:52:43

    NNAMDIHere is Alex Mooney.

  • 12:52:44

    MOONEYYes. Well, I guess guns don't kill people. People kill people. And I'm all for getting guns out of the...

  • 12:52:50

    NNAMDIYou walked right into that one, Paias. (laugh)

  • 12:52:51

    ROBILLARDOf course.

  • 12:52:52

    MOONEYI'm all for -- we're all for getting the guns out of the hands of criminals. Criminals don't buy them legally anyway. They get them on the streets illegally. So we -- you know, let's get guns out of the criminals' hands. The states, by the way, that passed -- NRA -- you shouldn't attack the NRA. The NRA supports legal rights to buy legal products, okay? And they support laws in states that give people, law-abiding citizens, the right to carry a firearm if they so choose. I was in here earlier when you're talking to Chairman Moran. The Democratic Party is running from this issue like there's no tomorrow. They will not go after your guns anymore. There's no way.

  • 12:53:20

    NNAMDIA new -- a member of the House of Representatives is introducing legislation to have every member of Congress be able to pack heat while in the District of Columbia. Is that something that you would approve of, Alex Mooney?

  • 12:53:31

    MOONEYEveryone -- I'm for right to carry for all law-abiding citizens, period.

  • 12:53:34

    SHERWOODDo you -- I mean he used the phrase killing babies, which, of course, is one of the negative terms that people use about abortion. But I mean, are -- is it a serious issue in Maryland? Do you know -- I don't even know statistics on how many abortions are done in Maryland.

  • 12:53:47

    MOONEYThere's a lot -- and the repeat abortions. We've recently tried to pass laws and say, you can't have two, three, four, five taxpayer funded abortions. We can't even pass that. So, yeah, there are -- it's being...

  • 12:53:57

    SHERWOODWhat -- if you can't -- if you didn't have abortion, what would happen to the babies and the mothers who didn't want them?

  • 12:54:01

    MOONEYAdoption.

  • 12:54:02

    NNAMDIMaryland is one of the few places in the country where Republicans failed to gain significant ground last year. You picked up a congressional seat with Andy Harris, but Democrats still dominate the statewide delegation. They controlled big majorities in Annapolis. What are your short-term and long-term strategies for capturing momentum for your party?

  • 12:54:20

    MOONEYWell, it's a fair question. I'm very glad we picked up Andy Harris in that congressional seat. We'll have to retain it, right? If you're talking about insider baseball, Democrats control redistricting in this state. I'm sure the Democrats will be crying foul in every other state where Republicans draw lines to their advantages. But here, they will target Andy Harris and perhaps Roscoe Bartlett, our two remaining Republican seats. We have to defend Andy Harris, for one. We did pick up six seats in the State House delegates. That was a good start, in my opinion. As I mentioned earlier, we've got to wait three more years for another election. We have some local elections where we can win some races in the next couple of years. But for the most part, the big election is in four years. And I -- we need to, you know, make some incremental gains. So I'm not here to say we're gonna take -- Republicans are gonna take over Maryland in four years and sweep both chambers and the governorship and all that.

  • 12:55:00

    SHERWOODYou said you're gonna raise $500,000 this year...

  • 12:55:02

    MOONEYYeah.

  • 12:55:02

    SHERWOODHave you got some money yet? You started it in December.

  • 12:55:04

    MOONEYYup, yup. We're off to a good start. We have a Reagan Day celebration, February 5th, if any of your listeners wanna come, celebrating Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday. That's true, right. So...

  • 12:55:12

    SHERWOODWhere is it?

  • 12:55:13

    MOONEYCelebrating Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday.

  • 12:55:14

    SHERWOODWhere...

  • 12:55:15

    MOONEYIt's in Howard County, at the Turf Valley Country Club on Saturday night, February 5th.

  • 12:55:18

    SHERWOODHow much are tickets?

  • 12:55:18

    MOONEY$100 a ticket.

  • 12:55:19

    SHERWOODOkay.

  • 12:55:20

    MOONEYAnd $175 for couple.

  • 12:55:22

    NNAMDIKevin.

  • 12:55:23

    ROBILLARDRight now, you guys -- you mentioned this early -- you made gains at the county level, particularly, I think, you know, on the Eastern Shore and in Western Maryland. But on the statewide level, where the votes are, it's Montgomery County, it's Prince George's, Howard, Anne Arundel, all the way up. How are you gonna make gains, particularly, I guess, in Montgomery, where, at this point, a lot of population growth in Maryland is also? How do you make gains there where, right now, there's not a single Republican elected official?

  • 12:55:46

    MOONEYYeah. And -- yeah, I mentioned this...

  • 12:55:47

    ROBILLARDWell, Roscoe Bartlett represents a portion of it, actually. But, yeah.

  • 12:55:49

    MOONEYYeah, that's true. You know, I forgot about that. Good point. When I was first elected 12 years ago to the Senate, there were three senators that had parts of Montgomery County -- Jean Rosser, P.J. Hogan and Chris McCabe

  • 12:56:01

    ROBILLARDP.J. Hogan switched parties.

  • 12:56:02

    MOONEYYeah. And Chris McCabe was mostly Howard and part of Montgomery, and Rosser barely goes defeated. We had a delegate up until, I guess, 2006 -- Jean Cryor. You know, we need to find some strong candidates there. It's a tough county. And, you know, there are local issues on roads and various things. The candidates will take positions that reflect Montgomery County a little more. But, you know, I don't think we should give up on that. I think we should field good candidates and look for opportunities. There is redistricting, so.

  • 12:56:26

    SHERWOODWill you support Republican candidates even if they're not as conservative as you think they should be?

  • 12:56:31

    MOONEYWell, sure.

  • 12:56:32

    SHERWOODIf they have the Republican label or they get on the ballot...

  • 12:56:33

    MOONEYSure. Yes.

  • 12:56:35

    SHERWOOD...whether they're moderate or not.

  • 12:56:36

    MOONEYYeah. That's my job as chairman. I supported Bob early because I agree with him on the abortion issue.

  • 12:56:40

    NNAMDIOn the other hand, where do Tea Party groups and activists fit into this part of your strategy? The Tea Party keep saying, no party can take us for granted, neither Democrat or Republican. And Republicans keep saying, we are Tea Partiers. And the Tea Partiers keep saying, no, you're joining us. We're not joining you. Where -- which is it?

  • 12:56:55

    MOONEYThat's true. Well, no. The Tea Partiers are not joining us. They're their own group, and I have a lot of respect for them. And they're right. I've been, for 12 years, trying to keep spending and taxes out of control. I wanted to mention creating jobs, too. I saw a press release a couple of days ago from the lieutenant governor of Virginia, bragging about 40,000-some new jobs. That's an issue on people's minds. And Maryland has lost those jobs. They brag about Northrop Grumman going to Virginia. Northrop Grumman took one quick look at Maryland, kind of laughed and went to Virginia because our policies, our tax policies which the Tea Party are with us on, less taxes, les spending. A lot of those guys come up to me, saying, don't raise taxes, don't raise my taxes, cut spending. We're talking about that earlier, where are we gonna cut spending more. And that's what they're looking for. So as far as Republicans are actually fiscally conservative, not moderate or liberal, good.

  • 12:57:37

    SHERWOODBut if the economy starts getting a lot better, it won't be such a big issue.

  • 12:57:42

    MOONEYI still think it will be. Wasteful spending is always a big issue. And no one wants their taxes raised.

  • 12:57:46

    NNAMDIAre you gonna run for Roscoe Bartlett's congressional seat when he retires?

  • 12:57:49

    MOONEYWhen he retires? We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Who knows? He's running again in two years. He's a great congressman. I fully support him. I don't know if he's gonna retire in four years or 10 years, so.

  • 12:57:57

    NNAMDIThat's a yes. Alex Mooney is the chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.

  • 12:58:01

    MOONEYWe'll see where I am in life when that time comes.

  • 12:58:02

    NNAMDIHe's a former member of the Maryland Senate. Alex Mooney, thank you very much for joining us.

  • 12:58:06

    MOONEYYou're welcome.

  • 12:58:07

    NNAMDIGood luck to you. Kevin Robillard is our guest analyst today. He's a political reporter for TBD.com, where he also writes the site's "Facts Machine" blog. How did the kid do today, Tom? Does he come back?

  • 12:58:16

    SHERWOODI think he did -- we could invite him back.

  • 12:58:19

    NNAMDINever. If he gets so well, he'll be replacing us in two years or so. He's not coming back. Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC 4 and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. Always a pleasure.

  • 12:58:29

    SHERWOODAnd I apologize for saying all those bad things about the Democratic State Committee.

  • 12:58:31

    NNAMDII'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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