Hartford – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy shared his opinion Friday on the recently concluded Republican National Convention while continuing with preparations for his own trip next week to the Democratic gathering.
"Let's be very clear," the Democratic governor told reporters. "This was the tea party convention that some Republicans were invited to."
That provocative declaration concluded Malloy's broader analysis of the three-day, televised convention in Tampa, Fla.
"This is the party that continues to believe in trickle-down economics, even though they've been proven not to work," Malloy said. "This is the party that drove the car into the ditch and is complaining that it's taking longer than they think it should to get it out. ... And their answer to that is to go back to the same policies that caused the catastrophe to begin with.
"Ultimately, of course, what we didn't hear was anything new."
Malloy will be flying to Charlotte, N.C., Monday to lead Connecticut's 102-member delegation at the Democratic National Convention. He's scheduled to address the convention Wednesday at about 6 p.m.
"People in Connecticut should be proud that our governor was selected out of hundreds, if not thousands, of potential speakers," said Jonathan Harris, executive director of the state Democratic Party.
For his part, Malloy said he is still polishing his speech.
"It's a short speech, but it's not going to be about me," he said, an apparent reference to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his GOP convention talk, which was heavy in personal biography. "I'm not like other governors; I'm not showing up to give a speech about myself."
Malloy also referred to Thursday night's convention performance by Clint Eastwood that involved the actor speaking to an empty chair as if President Barack Obama was sitting beside him.
"I may bring a chair up with me and talk to it. That was one of the, I think, the high points of the entire convention," Malloy quipped.
Early in the week Malloy made a joke about Christie's weight, responding, "That's a big watch" to a reporter's question on whether he planned to watch the New Jersey governor's convention speech.
State Sen. Andrew Roraback of Goshen, the Republican candidate in the 5th Congressional District race, criticized Malloy's convention analysis and tea party remark.
"The rhetoric that the governor used this morning isn't conducive to bringing people together. Rather, it serves to drive a wedge," Roraback told a circle of reporters. "I'm sorry that the governor feels he has to take the talking points that are being fed to him by the Democrats in Washington and try to feed that desire to divide."
Roraback predicted a closer-than-expected outcome in Connecticut this fall in the presidential race. A Quinnipiac University poll this week gave Obama a 7-point lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Obama carried Connecticut by 23 points in 2008, and the last Republican presidential candidate to win Connecticut was George H.W. Bush in 1988.
"I can tell you as someone who's running for office, who's out on the street every day meeting voters, each and every day I meet more and more members of the president's party who voted for him four years ago but who have buyer's remorse," Roraback said. "They want to try something different. So I think maybe there will be a November surprise in Connecticut."
GOP convention-goer Linda Davis, chairman of the Ledyard Town Council, returned from Tampa Friday afternoon, energized and in high spirits. It was her first trip to a national convention, and she didn't mind the Connecticut delegation's spot in the very back of the hall. "It was spectacular," said Davis, who attended as a guest. "It was very exciting to be with like-minded people for a whole week."
Davis said she liked the speeches delivered by Romney and his running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and thoroughly enjoyed the performance of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"She just blew me away," Davis said. "Considering that her speech was more meaty, more policy, for her to speak like that with no teleprompter was just amazing."
Davis disputed the notion of a tea-soaked convention. "It was such a broad range of speakers," she said. "Certainly Condoleezza Rice is no tea partier."