Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) says he will work to marshal Democratic governors and mayors of both parties to cheerlead for President Obama’s near half-trillion-dollar jobs act, a reprise of the role he played in 2009 to build support for Obama’s stimulus plan.
“I think mayors across the country and certainly Democratic governors will be pushing for passage of this. I think the parts that appeal most to mayors and governors will be the investments in infrastructure, and the investments in schools – the investments that get our people back to work,” O’Malley said.
The Maryland governor was among 23 White House guests invited to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama as the president addressed a joint session of Congress on Thursday night. Most were well-known business leaders, such as GE chairman Jeffrey R. Immelt, and AOL co-founder Steve Case. The guest list also included individuals with stories of persevering to find work, and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.
Speaking to a reporter after the speech, O’Malley sought to stress that the onus is now on Congress to implement the president’s proposals.
“We need our Congress to work if we are going to get our people back to work,” he said.
It’s unclear how big a role O’Malley may play in the national debate. As vice chairman of the Democratic Governors Association during the stimulus debate, he worked mostly behind the scenes, including organizing conference calls with reporters to argue in favor of the measure’s passage.
Since then, O’Malley has remained a staunch supporter of the stimulus plan, saying it kept the economy from falling into the abyss and forcing states to carry out mass layoffs.
He has also since ascended to the head of the DGA, and gained more national exposure.
In an e-mail to reporters before Thursday’s speech, the Republican National Committee sought to lump Obama and O’Malley together as ineffective, tax-and-spend liberals. The DGA called the e-mail a tired attack.
“I thought one of the most effective passages of [President Obama’s] remarks was when he said that ‘look, we don’t have 14 months to wait around for the next election to solve the great clash of economic philosophies.’
“I think a lot of times, people who are out of work and looking for jobs every day feel that the debate that goes on here in Washington, doesn’t respect the dire nature of their condition.”