Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) took a few swings at a favorite punching bag — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) — and knocked the already-announced Republican presidential candidates as well during an appearance on national television Sunday.
O’Malley, a guest on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said Christie would bring “tremendous entertainment value” if he enters the GOP race for president. But, O’Malley said: “His record in New Jersey has not been a record of governing for effectiveness.”
O’Malley said New Jersey’s bond rating has been lowered during Christie’s tenure, unemployment has reached 9.4 percent, no net jobs were created in the state last year and the state’s schools have slipped in national rankings.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), who appeared in the same segment, told host Bob Schieffer that O’Malley’s seemingly rehearsed list of Christie shortcomings showed “how afraid the Democrats are of Gov. Christie.”
Barbour said he has “no idea” if Christie will run, but added: “He’ll be a very strong candidate out of the chute” if he does run.
Since ascending to chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, O’Malley has frequently cited Christie as an example of what Republican governors are doing wrong in his view.
In a speech this summer in Utah, for example, O’Malley referred to Christie, as he often does, as a “colorful character” who lives in a “make-believe world, where down is up, up is down, candy is a vegetable, and vegetables are candy.”
Christie has said O’Malley criticizes him to get media attention.
During the segment Sunday, O’Malley also defended President Obama’s performance on the economy and said the current crop of Republican presidential candidates have offered no substantive ideas.
“They’re pandering to the tea party to be the Mad Hatter,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley’s first questions from Schieffer came after a discussion with Barbour about Christie’s weight. Pivoting from that, Schieffer introduced O’Malley as “the slim, trim governor from Maryland” — a introduction O’Malley said he had never gotten before.