When someone attacks your guy in politics, you can go one of two ways: ignore it or escalate. Roy Occhiogrosso, the governor’s senior adviser, chose the latter today as he responded to John Rowland calling his boss a “pathological liar.”

“It’s a bit like Snooki calling someone cheap,” Occhiogrosso said.

Rowland, a convicted felon who admitted to a lie or two during his 2 ½ terms as governor, unloaded on Malloy during an interview with the American Spectator.  As a radio host on WTIC-AM, Rowland also uses Malloy as a regular target.

“I think it’s ridiculous they’ve given him this platform,” Occhiogrosso said. “It’s more ridiculous people listen to what he says. I think he’s a fraud.”

Malloy has zinged Rowland on his own. He notes that the Republican boasts of doing battle with labor, but Rowland is the guy who saddled the state with a 20-year labor deal that guarantees labor generous health and retirement benefits until 2017.

“He’s trying to make me the scapegoat, but he actually wanted to extend that deal another five years through 2022,” Rowland told the Spectator. “He went from supporting an extension of the deal, to blaming it for all of the state’s problems. He’s all over the place.”

Malloy’s extension of the deal was a sweetener to try to get labor to agree to a higher retirement age and a health plan projected to save money.

Rowland should be grateful to Malloy and Occhiogrosso. In talk radio, controversy is a friend, and the biggest insult is to be ignored.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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