Ellen M. O'Connor, Washington's chief financial officer, asked rating agency officials on Friday to dispense with a "puritan streak" that has led them to downgrade many of the nation's municipalities.

O'Connor said further that rating analysts deal only in "absolute abstracts," which fail to consider political leadership concerned with responsible fiscal reform. She made her comments during a speaking engagement at a luncheon sponsored by the Municipal Analysts Group of New York at the Downtown Athletic Club in Lower Manhattan.

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