Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) sparred Sunday morning on national television over which party deserves credit for the start of the economic recovery and their respective job-creation records.
O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, and McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, were invited on CNN’s “State of the Union” to talk about the presidential race and the role of swing states this year.
O’Malley argued that President Obama would fare well on the “central issue” of the economy, particularly given signs that the country is emerging from “the
Bush recession” — including positive job-growth numbers and declining home foreclosures.
McDonnell — who also appeared on Fox News Sunday as a surrogate
for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney — told CNN host Candy Crowley that he disagreed, contending that Obama “spends most of his time blaming Republicans and the Tea Party and Wall Street for all the problems in the country and not taking responsibility.”
“I’m glad the economy is starting to recover, but I think it’s because of what Republican governors are doing in their states, not because of the president,” said McDonnell, who appeared remotely from Richmond.
“Oh, that’s very interesting,” O’Malley, who was in the studio with Crowley, responded. “In fact, I was going to ask Governor McDonnell, Candy, if his state is now creating jobs again, or is Virginia still losing jobs, as you were in the recession? And that’s a rhetorical question, governor. Your state is now creating jobs. My state is creating jobs. Throughout our country now, we’re creating jobs again.”
O’Malley continued: “We could create jobs faster, Governor McDonnell, if your party were not captive of the right-wing, Tea Party folks in Congress, who want to keep anything from happening.”
McDonnell fired back at his “friend Martin,” citing a CNBC ranking that showed 11 of the top 15 best states for doing business are led by Republicans, and saying that 7 out of 10 states with the biggest drops in unemployment are run by GOP governors.
“His plan in Maryland is to increase taxes on income, on gas, on cigars and everything else,” McDonnell said of O’Malley, referring to his recently released tax plans.
McDonnell also noted Virginia has a lower unemployment rate — at which point O’Malley countered that Maryland is creating private-sector jobs at a greater pace.
Crowley then cut them off and moved to another subject.