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Malloy sought to blunt Perry's thrust on jobs and industry. Connecticut's governor has made economic development a signature issue since taking office in January 2011, establishing a program consolidating tax credits to draw large employers and pushing for legislation promoting small business and bioscience jobs.
"Listen, we compete for every job and we're doing a pretty good job at it," he said.
Perry has poached in other states. He sought to talk up Texas for jobs in California's high tech, biotechnology, financial, insurance and film industries and urged Illinois employers to leave the state "while there's still time."
The Texas governor, who is set to visit New York during his trip to the Northeast, also has run ads mocking New York's "new New York ads," saying the Empire State is a high-tax state that hasn't much changed.
In Connecticut, he tried to take the edge off his tough message.
"Sometimes it's a rough business. I get that," Perry said. "But so is competition on an athletic field. I hope we can shake hands, realize that we're just competitors. We're all Americans first. "
Associated Press writers Susan Haigh in Hartford and John Christoffersen in New Haven contributed to this report.