POLITICS

Gray, McAuliffe, O'Malley: The Big Three convene

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ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - The loosely agreed upon plan was to have The Big Three enter their post-summit news briefing with relative pomp if not intriguing circumstance. Instead, with elevators being elevators and entourages being entourages, things went a bit awry.

The first of The Big Three, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, stepped off the elevator on the second floor of the Virginia Tech Research Center and bounded into the conference room and the awaiting television cameras before realizing he was sans his two Big Three mates. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had stayed behind in the lobby after realizing the third member of the Big Three, D.C. Mayor Vince Gray, was missing.

O’Malley scurried back out to the lobby, where he and McAuliffe – and their entourages – chatted for a couple of minutes until there was a “bing,” followed by the opening of elevator doors and the arrival of Gray and his entourage.

The Big Three having been reunited after spending more than an hour in an upstairs meeting room discussing cross-region issues, they more or less ambled to the front of the room, back-dropped by the U.S. flag, and the representative flags of The Big Three, Democrats all.

McAuliffe spoke first, and said he was encouraged by the spirit of cooperation. Then O’Malley, who said he was encouraged by the spirit of cooperation. Then Gray, who said he was encouraged by the spirit of cooperation.

And so it went.

Cleaning up and protecting the Chesapeake Bay? Agreed. A more efficient Metro? Agreed. Cross-region cooperation in fighting crime? Agreed.

Each of the Big Three appeared comfortable with their band-mates, as it were, shooting one another knowing glances on such aforementioned topics. O’Malley mostly held his hands clasped in front of him while McAuliffe pretty much kept his hands casually in his pockets and Gray tended to keep his hands behind his back.

These things have been done before, of course, but this was striking because it included two national figures one hugely prominent regional figure.

There was O’Malley, who may run for president in 2016 even if fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton enters the race. There was McAuliffe, the famous Clintonite fresh off a nationally followed defeat of Republican Ken Cuccinelli. There was Gray, who’s running for re-election in the District amid continuing questions about previous campaign shenanigans.

Best line of the day? That would be Gov. McAuliffe, former head of the Democratic National Committee, when asked about the fact that all of the Big Three are Democrats.

“The three of us,” he said, “are not leaders who ascribe to ideology.”

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