(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

The creature, O’Malley told a crowd of Utah Democrats, has the body of Tyrannosaurus rex and the head of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and it is threatening Washington.

“We are watching the latest incarnation of the dinosaur wing of the Republican party,” O’Malley said, referring to the impasse over raising the federal debt ceiling. “We cannot allow partisan-osaurus to take over the Republican party or the future of this country.”

O’Malley’s remarks came during a speech to about 500 people attending a Democratic Jubilee dinner in Salt Lake City sponsored by the Utah State Democratic Party. O’Malley is in Salt Lake City attending a summer meeting of the National Governors Association.

The speech was the latest in a string of similar addresses O’Malley has delivered around the country since becoming chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, an organization that raises money and seeks to elect fellow party members nationally.

While acknowledging he was “having some fun” at the expense of Republicans, O’Malley also said Friday that Democrats need to be willing to work with reasonable members of “the party of Lincoln.”

“There are still good and responsible people in the Republican party,” he told the crowd.

As he did in previous appearances in Virginia, New Jersey and Kentucky, O’Malley also criticized “a new breed of tea-partying Republican governors,” who he said Friday are trying to take the country “back to the 1920s.”