Malloy at the White House: A surrogate is born?

Washington — In town for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association — and to strengthen his ties to the Obama administration — Gov. Dannel Malloy can’t hold back his enthusiasm for the president.

Upon leaving the White House Friday after a meeting with President Obama, a group of Democratic governors was asked by an Associated Press reporter if the president could win their state.

She had directed her question at governors of key “purple” swing states that can make or break a White House run.

But Malloy, whose state is among the most loyally Democratic “blue” states, quickly stepped forward to the microphone to answer the reporter’s question.

“Oh, no. Not you,” the reporter said.

But Malloy continued, undeterred.

“If the American voters vote on jobs, this man is going to get 75 percent of the vote,” he said.

Earlier, Malloy said his time with Obama Friday was “the most inspirational meeting I’ve ever attended.”
He said Obama had “passion” and a “laser-like focus.” He also said Obama had helped create 3.7 million jobs.

“That’s really a tribute to the president,” Malloy said. “What we see is America on its way back.”

Malloy will attend several National Governors Association seminars over the weekend.

Some of the panels offered include “Growing State Economies,” “Innovation in Reducing Health Care Costs While Improving Services” and “The World’s Energy Future.” Then there’s a Sunday evening meeting at the White House and another one Monday morning.

Malloy said he wants to meet with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Housing and Urban Development head Shaun Donovan during this trip to Washington, which he said will leave little time for a personal agenda.

“We’re doing business,” Malloy said.

After only a little more than a year in office, Malloy has not been able to earn the type of clout that comes with seniority.

But his true “blue” loyalty and rising poll numbers are likely to make him a valuable, and enthusiastic,  White House ally. He has gotten his share of national press, with his defense of the Obama administration on MSNBC during the contraceptive controversy earning him a White House thank you.

Malloy’s approval numbers are rising, from a low of 37 percent last March to a high of 51 percent in a survey conducted by the Yankee Institute on Feb. 2.