Christie, O'Malley on Face the Nation Sunday

This Sunday's Guests are New Jersey Governor, Republican Chris Christie, and Democrat Martin O'Malley, the Governor of Maryland.


A rising star of the Republican Party, he was one of the top names to pass up a chance to run for the White House and quickly became the biggest endorsement of the year. Now Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is back in the headlines with a new budget promising a 10 percent tax cut to everyone in the Garden State and a veto of gay marriage legislation passed by the state legislature.

"The New Jersey Comeback has just begun," said the Governor this week. "Resolve today to join us in the tough choices which leadership and truth inexorably lead us to and join us now. End the nay saying - join us to accelerate the New Jersey Comeback this year."

Christie's promising to increase state funding for education, transportation and state pensions. His rise to fame nationally came as he took on public sector unions, reforming the state's pension system, making union employees pay more for their health benefits, and cutting real spending, to turn around the state's budget.

"We had to dig down deep into our well of Jersey strength and restore our confidence. To do this for our state and for each other, there were two indispensible elements - leadership and truth," he said.

Leadership and truth are two of the qualities that have made Christie a rising star in Republican circles. He was at the top of many top party insiders list of people to run for the White House and though he denies he has interest in being anyone's running mate, his name is often mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential pick.

"I won't compromise my principles for politics," he said on CNN, further illustrating why many party insiders say, and secretly hope, that it's not too late for another candidate to jump in the race.

When he decided he wasn't running, he quickly endorsed Mitt Romney for president and has since been out on the campaign trail for the former Massachusetts Governor, jokingly threatening to take care of people who don't show up at the polls for Romney, "Jersey style."

"I'll tell you, this guy says he's a loud mouth from New Jersey, but don't you believe it, he's a lot smarter than that," said Romney about his friend.

On the stump though, Christie rallies the Republican faithful, contrasting his tough talk and strong leadership in New Jersey with President Obama and the Democrats in Washington.

"After three years of Obama we are hopeless and changeless and we need Mitt Romney to bring us back, to bring America back," Christie told a raucous crowd in Iowa.

But some Republicans say Christie's appeal to the common voter coupled by his tell-it-like-it-is style highlights what's lacking in Romney. Christie doesn't see it that way.

"It is the nature of our Republican electorate right now is that they're very angry about the president and the direction the president is taking us in and they want someone who they believe will fight the president......And Governor Romney is a reserved kind of guy. And I think people need to get him -- to know him more," he told CNN's Piers Morgan this week.

For his part, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has pledged to sign a newly passed bill legalizing gay marriage in his state. But O'Malley, as head of the Democratic Governors Association, is a leader of the Democratic Party with a keen eye on the Republican battle for the White House.

"These candidates aren't running for the nomination of the Republican Party. They're running for the nomination of the Tea Party. They're not putting forward new ideas to create jobs that would qualify them to be President. They are pandering that the Tea Party to be the mad hatter. This is not the sort of field of candidates that should inspire confidence in a stronger economy with expanding opportunity," he said in his last appearance on Face the Nation.

More recently, O'Malley has focused his attention on former Governor Romney.

"When he was governor, why did his state rank 47th in job creation if he has such great ideas for creating jobs?" he recently asked in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley.

And what does he think about his fellow Governor from New Jersey?

"I think that whatever entertainment value Governor Christie might bring to the race and certainly there will be tremendous entertainment value especially if you like Don Rickles," O'Malley said to Bob Schieffer just before Christie opted against entering the campaign.

As the Republican battle moves ahead, can Romney convince Republicans he's really one of them? Can he fight back against the surging Rick Santorum in Romney's home state of Michigan? Is the Christie plan of cutting taxes for everyone, including the wealth, while raising some spending a model for other cash strapped states to follow? Is there time for another candidate to get in the race? What does the prolonged battle mean for President Obama's re-election changes? Does the tenor of the Republican debate mean Democrats will be on the upswing in the fall? Those will be among the issues discussed as Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland join Bob Schieffer to Face the Nation.

Check your local listings so  you don't miss a minute of Face the Nation.

  • Robert Hendin On Twitter»

    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.

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