The United States is challenged in getting things done because the country has a “job creation president” but a “constipation Congress,” Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley told an Akron crowd Tuesday night.
“Congress wouldn’t pass gas if it would help the president speed up the jobs recovery,” the outspoken O’Malley said during the Summit County Democratic Party’s Franklin D. Roosevelt Dinner.
O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, addressed about 400 Democratic faithful at Todaro’s Party Center at the dinner that serves as the party’s major annual fundraiser. Party leaders were pleased to get O’Malley, who is campaigning for President Barack Obama and has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2016.
“We’re honored to have O’Malley,” said Wayne Jones, chairman of the county Democratic Party. He said he had met the governor once before Tuesday.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic introduced O’Malley, whom he knows from O’Malley’s time as Baltimore mayor, saying he recalls being blown away when he first heard O’Malley speak at a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting.
“He’s got the right stuff,” Plusquellic said. “He literally could be president of the United States.”
Plusquellic said that he knows O’Malley also is charismatic and has sex appeal, having seen him play in his Irish rock band while wearing a sleeveless muscle shirt.
O’Malley thanked Plusquellic for the kind words, though he said he no longer wears muscle shirts and has semi- retired from his band — although the musicians still occasionally play.
Speaking for about 25 minutes, O’Malley said Republicans talk about wanting to “take America back.”
“Back to what?” he asked. “We don’t want to go back to what George W. Bush left us.”
He urged those in the crowd, whenever they say the words “deficit,” “recession” or “job loss” in the next seven months, to precede them with the word “Bush,” as in “Bush deficit.” He said Obama and the Democrats will move the country forward, not back.
O’Malley said Obama saved 22,700 jobs through the stimulus bill and prevented the collapse of the automobile industry, which employs about 850,000 Ohioans. He said Mitt Romney, the likely Republican presidential candidate, would have taken a hands-off approach to the struggling auto industry.
“Because of Obama, GM is alive and hiring, and Osama bin Laden is not,” O’Malley said. “We move forward!”
At a reception before the dinner, O’Malley said the state will play a key role in the presidential election — “Ohio is always a battleground,” he said — with North Carolina, Washington and New Hampshire being others to watch.
He pledged to return to Ohio in 2014 to help return the governorship to the Democrats.
“A better and stronger America is not behind us. It’s ahead of us,” O’Malley said in concluding his remarks. “Forward and not back.”
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.