(WUSA) -- Md. Gov. Martin O'Malley spoke to USA TODAY from the Charlotte Convention Center on Monday morning.
He talked about what he thought President Obama's campaign should do at the DNC. O'Malley said, "I think that the Obama-Biden team and Democratic Party needs to do at this convention and coming out of this convention is articulate that message of forward progress...job growth...tell the story of restructuring and the turn around of the auto industry." The governor said it was important to contrast the Obama administration's choices with the choices Romney says he would make.
The Maryland governor also spoke about understanding the need to voice discontent but that there was also a need for lawmakers to compromise "when a decision needs to be made between two alternatives."
On Sunday, he told CBS' Bob Schieffer that the nation was not better off today than four years ago, citing job losses and deficits. He blamed the Bush administration for those problems.
A USA TODAY reporter on Monday asked Gov. O'Malley whether his answer, which has circulated as a short clip on the internet, was wrong, O'Malley responded, "In retrospect, I suppose it was....I find myself a victim of a word splice."
He continued, "What I was trying to say is that we're coming out of the worst recession that we have ever experienced in this country since the great depression. Our country is clearly becoming better not worse. We're creating jobs rather than losing jobs. We're becoming stronger rather than weaker. We're moving forward and not back. But this is hard work. I don't think anybody, I think none of us would disagree with the fact that we have not yet recovered all that we lost in the Bush recession. But we have, thanks to President Obama's leadership, put together 29 months in a row of positive private sector job growth for the first time since 2005. We've seen the largest expansion of the manufacturing sector since like, the 1990s. Unemployment is lower than it was three years ago. Foreclosures are lower than they were than before the president took office, and so we're making progress and we are better off as a country because we're headed in the right direction. But we have not recovered all that we lost in the Bush recession and that's the point I was trying to make, that if we're going to recover what we lost from the Bush recession fully and give our kids better opportunities we've got to move forward and not back. We've got to do what our parents and grandparents did, which is to come together as a people to make those investments, education, innovation and rebuilding our infrastructure that's part of the pillars required for our balanced economic growth."
The reporter then said, "But it seems to have been very difficult for Democrats to just say 'things are better, getting better, making progress..."
O'Malley interjected, "You know, I've said it like a hundred times on Sunday shows for the last several months."
He continued, "This is the line that we walk. Look, the best leaders and the people and the leaders that people trust in difficult times are the leaders who have the faith in the intelligence of the people we serve to be straight up and direct with them about our shared reality. Everyone knows we're going through changing times in this economy and everyone knows that in changing times that there is a lot of displacement and so the question seems to me, I mean, I think what we need to do is acknowledge the difficulty of what we're facing. Not sugar coat over the additional work that needs to be done while at the same time pointing out those things that we are doing better as a country and the progress that is being made."