The two make an attractive pair for Washington TV producers. Each chairs his respective party's governors association, and both are close enough to the nation's capital that they can be in studio.
We don't like to pick winners. But we can say this: Maryland's governor had a far easier go of the roughly 10 minute live-to-tape interview. Host David Gregory lobbed O'Malley friendly questions about signs of economic recovery and women's rights.
That allowed O'Malley to say broad shiny things like: "There is no more important news than the good news we are seeing in the economy." And "I do believe the overriding issue in this race is jobs."
O'Malley also had the chance to lament how Republicans are "rolling back" reproductive rights for women and rights for workers when they should be using the J word more. (And we don't mean Jesus.)
Gregory saved the most pointed inquires for McDonnell, grilling Virginia's governor on a controversial measure he backed that would have required women to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound before having an abortion.
Gregory wanted to know: Did McDonnell back away from the idea because of the "political heat" he took, or because it was the wrong idea?
McDonnell tried to pivot back to the economy, the presidential election and also attempted to sqeeze in some commentary about O'Malley's tax-encrusted budget.
Gregory wouldn't move: "This is the state of Virgina mandating women to have an additional procedure," Gregory said.
O'Malley weighed in to the discussion by saying "cultural battles" are not "helpful" and distract from J. J. J.
At the end Gregory asked O'Malley to assess how McDonnell would do as a vice presidential pick.
"This is your chance Martin," McDonnell said, bracing for hit.
O'Malley instead said McDonnell would be a better "job creater" than GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.