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Perry’s visit to Bethesda coincides with ‘Pitch Across Maryland’ stop

Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas)Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s visit to Maryland on Wednesday had him crossing paths with Startup Maryland’s “Pitch Across Maryland.”

The two tours have similar goals — Perry is crisscrossing the country to promote his state’s economy and business climate, while “Pitch Across Maryland” celebrates entrepreneurs and business opportunities here.

Perry held a late lunch at Morton’s in Bethesda, the same area where the Startup Maryland bus was scheduled to stop Wednesday. The Maryland group took advantage, swinging by the restaurant with the bus.

“Maryland really shines not just against Texas, but in any geography,” said Mike Binko, Startup Maryland’s co-chair, adding that he would invite Perry to board the “Pitch Across Maryland” bus and pitch the state of Texas to businesspeople in Maryland.

Perry did not acknowledge the bus when he arrived for lunch but he has already made his pitch, releasing television and radio ads bashing Maryland as “the tax and fee state.”

“When you grow tired of Maryland taxes squeezing every dime out of your business, think Texas, where we’ve created more jobs than all the other states combined,” Perry says in the ads.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley responded to Perry’s advertisement in a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday, writing that Maryland’s business focus is middle-class, sustainable jobs. He added a reminder of Maryland’s first-place ranking for innovation and entrepreneurship from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Sitting there with my family and seeing that ad on TV… I think the approach and tactic [by Perry] was something lax in forethought,” said Binko. “He’ll probably want to forget this day next time he does a presidential debate.”

O’Malley’s op-ed also pointed out that Texas leads the nation in its number of minimum-wage workers and has poor rankings for high school graduation rates, poverty levels and health insurance coverage among residents.

O’Malley and Perry will appear on CNN’s “Crossfire” tonight to debate a range of issues. Both are considering running in the 2016 presidential election.