Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley played surrogate for the Obama administration Sunday morning, appearing on CNN's State of the Union to offer his views on the GOP presidential nomination fight, the president's chances for re-election and the economy.
O'Malley was paired with Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell of Virginia for the roughly 10 minute piece. Each chairs his respective party's governors association.
O'Malley had the in-studio advantage, sitting across the table from CNN host Candy Crowley. McDonnell's image was beamed in via satellite.
O'Malley opined that GOP voters are still "shopping" for a nominee, despite Mitt Romney's recent wins in Florida and Nevada. McDonnell, who has endorsed Romney, said the former MA governor is "winning almost every spectrum of the Republican base."
"I think he'll be the nominee, the only question is when," McDonnell said.
On the economy O'Malley cited 23 months of "positive job creation" figures and the dropping foreclosure rate as evidence that the future is getting brighter.
McDonnell shot back that Obama has had little to do with the fledgling recovery. "I’m glad the economy is starting to recover but I think it is because of what Republican governors are doing in their states not because of what the president is doing," McDonnell said.
O'Malley dismissed the point by noting that job numbers are getting better in Maryland and Virginia. "Throughout our country we are creating jobs," O'Malley said. "Now we could be creating jobs faster, governor, if your party was not captured by the right-wing tea party folks in Congress who want to keep anything from happening."
McDonnell used a folksier tone, referring to Maryland's governor as "Martin" and "my friend." At one point he said "by the way, we do get along. We do a lot together in the Washington area."
Virginia's governor also showed he's been paying close attention to O'Malley's decisions in Maryland, and criticized him for proposals to "increase taxes on income, on gas, on cigars and everything else."