Lowell P. Weicker Jr. was his blunt self today at a forum on the fiscal crisis with one exception: He declined to second-guess the fiscal approach of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, for whom he clearly has no personal affection.

With the barest hint of a smile, he thanked Malloy for “taking the monkey off my back.” Malloy’s tax increase set a record, exceeding the increase Weicker obtained in 1991 as he imposed a new income tax. (Corrected for inflation, though, Weicker’s hike was bigger.)

Weicker said he admired Malloy taking unpopular steps to cope with an inherited deficit, just as he did in 1991. Weicker said he bore the wrath of taxpayers, as Malloy is now.

“That’s OK, that’s what leadership is supposed to do. It’s supposed to make decisions that work…not decisions that are necessarily popular,” Weicker said. “In that sense, I back the governor. He didn’t create the mess any more than I created the mess. Both of us tried to do a job to clean it up.”

Asked to give his own solution to the budget crisis, Weicker first said he had no love for the new governor, then he said, “For the time being, it’s to back the governor on his budget proposals.”

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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