WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said Friday that he didn’t mean to say in a recent network news interview that people are worse off than they were four years ago.
O’Malley said he was “word-spliced” after appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Host Bob Schieffer asked the Democratic governor if he could honestly say people are better off now.
The governor responded, “No, but that’s not the question of this election. The question, without a doubt, we are not as well off as we were before George Bush brought us the Bush job losses, the Bush recession, the Bush deficits, the series of desert wars, charged for the first time to a credit card, the national credit card.”
Republicans seized on the remark to try and undercut President Barack Obama amid this week’s Democratic National Convention.
Appearing Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” O’Malley said Americans are indeed doing better.
“Yes, of course we’re doing better when America is creating jobs, and we are creating jobs,” O’Malley said on that program.
O’Malley added that the U.S. has not recovered all the jobs lost during the recession, and says that is what he was talking about in the first place.
O’Malley also told interviewer Charlie Rose on PBS on Monday that his “Face the Nation” remarks fell victim to a “word splice.”
“What I should have said was ‘Look, we’re clearly better because we’re now creating jobs as a country, instead of losing jobs,'” O’Malley told Rose. “But we haven’t yet recovered everything that we lost in the Bush recession. And both of those things are true.”
O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, is considered a possible presidential candidate in 2016.
It was Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan who most famously used the query about being “better off” in his 1980 campaign against Democratic President Jimmy Carter, and the line is credited with helping Reagan to win the presidency.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)