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NBC "Meet the Press" - Transcript

Interview

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DAVID GREGORY:
Will he come across as anti-business with this line of attack?

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
No, I don't believe that. In fact, I'm-- I agree with Speaker Gingrich during his campaign when-- when he-- had to address that claim that Mitt Romney initially made that, oh, he created hundreds of thousands of jobs, a claim he eventually backed off of under the speaker's questioning and pressing.

This-- but there are two things that really-- Romney has to recommend himself for the high office of president. One is his experience with Bain Capital, where his job was to return profits as quickly as possible to a very narrow few rather than to create long-term jobs for the many. The second one, though, which you don't hear him talking about at all, is his experience in the public sector when he was governor of Massachusetts.

DAVID GREGORY:
Well, and I wanna get to that in just a moment. But speaker, respond to this because you-- you called his time at Bain exploitation at one point in the campaign.

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GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
I'd like to disagree with that. We have driven, under President Obama's leadership, unemployment down to three-year lows. Home foreclosures are lower now than they were when President Obama took office. We have put together the American people with effective leadership 26 months in a row of private sector job growth.

That record will be contrasted sharply to what Mitt Romney did as governor, which was, in a relatively strong state in a better time of our economy, to have that state ranked 47th out of 50 in job creation.

DAVID GREGORY:
Unemployment rate in Massachusetts came down under his stewardship.

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
Well, the unemployment rate came down in a lot of states. They were different times. Right now our unemployment rate nationally has been driven down to the lowest level in three years. And it could be driven down further, more quickly with more job creation, if we would get beyond the sort of Tea Party Republican obstructionism that tries to prevent any modern investments to make this modern economy--

DAVID GREGORY:
Well, what is the warning, though, from the president's campaign and surrogates about what Romney policy would mean for job creation on a national level?

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
What is the warning? I think what you see and I think part of what some of the, you know, armchair critics are missing is that what Romney did, Mr. Romney not Governor Romney, but what he did at Bain Capital was to drive up debt greatly by these companies that Bain took over in order to return huge de-- dividends to a small, little group of investors and then walk away--

DAVID GREGORY:
But--

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
--from the business--

DAVID GREGORY:
--striking, governor, before I let (UNINTEL), you have the president's job council where he has private equity folks on there.

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
Right. They totally should be.

DAVID GREGORY:
You-- yeah. And you yourself, you have the Department of Business and Economic Development headed up by someone from private equity. So you seem to recognize--

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
Absolutely.

DAVID GREGORY:
--this-- the-- the-- the experience--

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:

It's not about that.

DAVID GREGORY:

--of private equity in state government.

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
Absolutely. It's a part of it. But what the president of the United States, what the leader of the whole economy must be concerned about is not the short-term return of profits to the few but a long-term economy that creates jobs for the many.

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GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
David, two things on the Romney record. With regard to debt, Governor Romney drove up, for the people of Massachusetts, the largest per capita debt of any state in the union. That's a fact. When it comes to what little bit of job creation was happening in Massachusetts, it was happening in the public sector at six times the rate that it was happening in the private sector.

His record, whether it's at Bain Capital or whether it was as governor of Massachusetts, is not a record of reducing debt; it's of increasing debt. Not a record of increasing private job creation but actually have having the 47th out of 50 states in terms of the worst job creation--the--

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DAVID GREGORY:
Is this a character issue to you and to the president?

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
I think it's more of a qualification issue. There's nothing that Governor Romney did either in the private sector that created jobs or in the public sector that distinguish them self as a job creator. There's a tremendous amount of balance that's required to be president of the United States, especially to bring our country back from the disastrous-- after effects of the Bush recession, the Bush job losses, and the huge amount of our deficit, 55% of which was caused by policies, tax cuts, that benefited the wealthiest of Americans rather than investing in a better-- future and a better economy with greater opportunities that our kids deserve.

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GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
Well, the plan is that in order to create jobs a modern economy does require modern investments. I mean, Speaker Gingrich describes himself as a pro-growth Republican. I describe myself as a pro-growth Democrat. We know that what we need to do is to create jobs. The how do you that is to innovate, to invest in education, to invest in infrastructure.

DAVID GREGORY:
So government's gotta spend more money on particularly infrastructure in the country. That's one big idea.

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
To a degree. You can't do less. I mean, how much less do you want for our country? How much less education would be good for our economy? How many fewer bridges can we keep to-- in good repair? Is that good for our economy? Certainly not.

DAVID GREGORY:
So Obama's second term, government spends more 'cause it has to.

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
No-- no, the ju-- no, the bottom line here, David, is job creation. Last year President Obama, because of his leadership in America, we created more jobs as a country last year than were created in all eight years of George W. Bush. What Mitt Romney is offering is an alternative to take us back, back to the days of debt, back to the days of record job losses, record home foreclosures.

And when people are given the choice, particularly new Americans, about an expanding view of America with more jobs and more opportunity or a return to the days of George W. Bush--

DAVID GREGORY:
I wanna make--

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
--they're going to choose to move forward.

DAVID GREGORY:
Speaking of Bush, they wanna run the 2004 campaign in a way which is make this a real contrast with Romney and make it a choice and not a referendum.

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DAVID GREGORY:
Governor, are-- are you likely to run in 2016? Would you wait to see what Biden and/or Secretary Clinton do?

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY:
I haven't even thought that far. I mean, I'm focused on what I'm doing right now, which is doing everything in my power to help Democratic governors like Tom Barrett in Wisconsin where the-- where-- the polls have greatly narrowed. And Wisconsin's an interesting choice.

Tom Barrett, who's been a mayor, who's done practical things, brought people together to solve problems versus Scott Walker, 50th out of 50 states in job creation and the only sitting governor with an active criminal defense fund. So this is going to be an exciting race--

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