O'Malley bashes Republicans on jobs on CNN

Gov. Martin O'Malley returned to the national stage Sunday after a Democratic National Convention speech that received tepid reviews, facing off with Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt over job creation and women's issues on CNN.

Questioned by CNN's Candy Crowley, O'Malley defended President Obama's handling of the U.S. economy, asserting that employment is now greater than it was when the president took office. He said job creation could have been more robust if Republicans hadn't blocked Obama's jobs creation legislation in Congress.

O'Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said his party is holding up well in the statehouse races up for election this year despite being outspent in many states. 

"That's what makes it so exciting," O'Malley said.

O'Malley engaged Blunt over the race for the other Missouri Senate seat in which Rep. Todd Akin is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Akin stayed in the race despite withering criticism from Blunt and other Repulicans over his statement that women who were victimes of "legitimate rape" would not become pregnant as a result.

Blunt conspicuously declined to defend Akin but argued that he should be elected in order to ensure Republican control of the Senate -- a prospect he put at 50-50 despite polls suggesting Democrats will retain a majority. 

For O'Malley, it was a relaxed and uneventful return to the Sunday news programs on which he has been one of Obama's most reliable surrogates this year. If anything, his joint appearance with Blunt was notable for its courtesy, with neither man trying to speak over the other. 

In other words, Maryland's governor was on his best behavior. There were no noticeable gaffes. A good case could be made that he went forward, not back.