On MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show tonight, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy walked a line between boastfulness and modesty as he discussed Connecticut’s repeal of the death penalty for future crimes.

He described his opposition to capital punishment as a principled stand that nearly cost him the election in 2010, but then quickly credited the General Assembly with passage of a bill he intends to sign.

“My opponent actually ran ads against me on this subject, but if you believe something you believe it,” he said. “By the way, this is not about me. This about some wonderful leadership in the Senate, some wonderful leadership in the House.”

Malloy compromised in the 2010 race, as did the legislature this week, by favoring repeal of capital punishment only for future crimes, not as it applied to the men already on death row.

But he said tonight he would not sign a death warrant, if Connecticut law requires such an act to carry out an execution. It does not.

“No, I couldn’t imagine myself doing that. But I’m a governor in a state that doesn’t vest that power in the governor. I never would have to make that decision as governor,” he said.

Malloy spoke out about his support of repeal as it made its way through the legislature, but he did not directly lobby any legislator. Most of the drama occurred in the Senate, where leadership worked on three senators who never had previously supported repeal.

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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