TRENTON – True to his word, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley returned to the Garden State Friday to stump for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Barbara Buono.
The possible 2016 candidate for president appeared at two events in the state’s capital city as he threw shots at Gov. Chris Christie from a Buono for governor podium that was set up just blocks away from the Statehouse.
“Look, there is an expression that if you can’t govern you sure as hell better entertain,” O’Malley said to laughs outside of a local small business.
“Well, your governor’s been entertaining now for four years and he’s a great entertainer, and hats off to him [because] he’s really colorful and he can be entertaining, unless you’re one of the mayors of New Jersey who has been subjected to his ‘us versus them’ style of government,” he said.
The Maryland governor advocated sending someone to the executive’s office in the Statehouse who would be a leader for the people of the middle class. He argued Buono is just that person – not the state’s incumbent governor.
“His leadership isn’t working,” he said of Christie. “It’s colorful on ‘The Tonight Show,’ but it’s bad for the people of New Jersey.”
Speculation has swirled O’Malley could be eyeing a presidential bid in 2016. The governor was asked if he shared Buono’s view that Christie, who she has hammered on the campaign trail for covertly focusing more on the White House than on the Garden State, is gearing up for a presidential bid.
“How can I say this? I think that Barbara Buono understands Chris Christie far better than I do and all I can say is this, the decisions he’s making are not decisions that are in the best interests of the middle class of New Jersey,” said O’Malley, arguing Buono would represent working New Jerseyans.
“I mean, he’s shifted the tax burden from his wealthy friends’ laps and instead shifted it to the backs of hard-working moms and dads throughout New Jersey,” he said. “That’s not leadership that’s good for New Jersey’s future, perhaps that’s the sort of narrow-minded ideology that plays well in the ultra-right of the Republican national party.”
O’Malley’s comments came two months after he appeared on Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s campaign trail in Trenton. During the August event, O’Malley promised to come back to New Jersey and stump for the Democratic nominee whose campaign is lagging in the polls.
Buono told reporters she isn’t bogged down by the latest poll numbers that have her trailing behind Christie by 26 points.
“Well let’s face it, we’re in New Jersey. We know people don’t start paying attention until three weeks out,” Buono said.
“We’re a couple days past that and today we just went up on TV,” she said. “And so the issue will be communicating our message to the people of New Jersey.”