ABC’s Rick Klein (@rickklein) reports: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is using his post as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association to offer a Democratic alternative to the aggressive brand of politics being espoused by a new crop of Republican governors, who are taking on public-sector unions and enacting deep cuts in efforts to balance state budgets.
On ABC’s “Top Line” today, O’Malley blasted perhaps the highest-profile such governor, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and suggested that Democrats will take back the Garden State’s governor’s mansion when Christie is up for reelection in 2013.
“People are getting kind of tired of his mean-spirited, unproductive manner of governing his state. And that’ll be up to the people of New Jersey in a couple years time,” said O’Malley, D-Md.
“But the mean-spiritedness — the sort of standup routine that Chris Christie brings to the national debate — is something that garners headlines much easier than the tough decisions. But the right decisions being made by people like [New York Gov.] Andrew Cuomo and other governors that are balancing, but also making the modern investments that a modern economy requires.”
“We recognize that a modern economy requires modern investments if we’re going to create jobs. So that’s why we’re going to have to balance our budgets. And by the way, all of us do. It’s not just the Republican governors. All of the men and women who are Democratic governors have been making tough decisions, balancing our budgets, but also improving education, harnessing innovation, creating jobs, and rebuilding our infrastructure — including our cyber-infrastructure as well as transportation.”
Democratic governors, O’Malley said, are focused on “getting our economy moving again, creating jobs, and expanding opportunity.”
“That’s a pretty stark contrast to some of the sort of ‘tea-partying’ Republican governors who are hell-bent on sharpening their ideological axe on eliminating unions, doing away with collective bargaining. I don’t know what that has to do with job creation.”
O’Malley deflected talk of him being a candidate for president in 2016: “I’m very honored that I get to serve the great people in the state of Maryland. And to the extent that we’ve been able to do a good job through these tough times, it’s because the goodness and the intelligence of the people I serve. And it’s very nice of you to mention that, it’s nice when other people do. But the most important thing is moving on and moving our state forward.”
O’Malley also said he was unaware of the fact that several state prisons in Maryland have television stations run by inmates, as reported in yesterday’s Washington Post.
“You got me there. I didn’t read that one. I read about 40 other articles,” O’Malley said. Asked if he was aware of such programs, he responded: “No.”
Watch the full interview with Gov. Martin O’Malley HERE: