Malloy on ‘Morning Joe’: I have feelings

It wasn’t as heated as the last time he was on the show, but Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s first in-studio appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today did put him on the defensive at times.

Malloy – who was joined in-studio by guests Pat Buchanan and Tom Brokaw – discussed a variety of issues with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, including the state’s budget woes, his relationship with businesses and his thoughts on the federal budget deficit.

Last time he was a guest to talk about state budget issues, Malloy sparred with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over the way each has handled their budget crisis, creating a stir locally.

While Malloy did face some tough questions, they were not all hard-hitting. Malloy did discuss the run of the UConn men’s basketball team to the NCAA Final Four, and showed his basketball knowledge, giving credit to the Huskies’ Jeremy Lamb, calling him a “clutch player.” As far as the success of the women’s team, who play tonight in the Elite 8, Malloy said Connecticut is “used to that by now.”

The recent Quinnipiac poll numbers were discussed, which show that40 percent of state voters polled disapprove of Malloy’s performance.

Malloy, when asked if he cared about the poll, said that he did, saying “I have feelings.”

In terms of the state’s relationship with businesses, Malloy said big business owners are generally happy with his plans for the budget. He also said he was in talks with six businesses about moving to the state or expanding, but would not name them.

Malloy also passed blame on to his predecessors, saying he inherited the budget deficit and in the past years, “no one did any of the hard work,” while Connecticut was standing pat.

In a shot at former Gov. John Rowland, Malloy said that the 20-year deal with the union was a mistake.

Malloy talked about the federal budget at length with Buchanan and Brokaw, saying that he thinks “everything must be on the table,” but said he can say that type of thing because he is not running for president. Malloy said the climate of worrying about sound bites that could be used for political attacks have made it difficult for candidates to tackle hard issues on the national level.

The governor was rattled at the end of the interview when Brzezinski, a Conn. resident who used to work as a reporter in the state, asked him who his favorite reporter was. After trying to avoid the question, Malloy eventually said his neighbor, Dateline NBC’s Chris Hanson, was his favorite, but said he “loves all reporters.”

Tom Cleary