O’Mal­ley im­presses — as vice pres­i­dent

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY S.A. MILLER

Even when for­mer Mary­land Gov. Martin O’Mal­ley wows the crowds in Iowa and other early-vot­ing states, they say the likely pres­i­den­tial hope­ful would make a good vice pres­i­dent.

That’s a pow­er­ful blow to a can­di­date who is try­ing to make his way to the top of the ticket and beat back naysay­ing po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts who give him no chance of win­ning or who spec­u­late that he’s ac­tu­ally run­ning for the No. 2 spot or a Cabi­net post un­der Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton, the pre­sumed fron­trun­ner for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion.

Th­ese days, Mr. O’Mal­ley is quick to chal­lenge the idea that Mrs. Clin­ton is “un­beat­able” and her nom­i­na­tion is “in­evitable.”

“Let’s be hon­est here, the pres­i­dency of the United States is not some crown to be passed be­tween two fam­i­lies. It is an awe­some and sa­cred trust that [has] to be earned and ex­er­cised on be­half of the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” he said Sun­day on ABC’s “This Week.”

The for­mer gover­nor, who has laid the ground­work for a chal­lenge to Mrs. Clin­ton next year, said he would an­nounce his de­ci­sion on the race “this spring.”

More than any other po­ten­tial Demo­cratic can­di­date, Mr. O’Mal­ley has un­der­taken an ag­gres­sive travel sched­ule in Iowa and New Hamp­shire. He has gar­nered stand­ing ova­tions from party ac­tivists with his pop­ulist rhetoric and lib­eral agenda, which in­cludes calls to raise the min­i­mum wage and break up Wall Street banks.

Larry Hodg­den, Demo­cratic Party Chair­man for Iowa’s Cedar County, said he was im­pressed with Mr. O’Mal­ley and be­lieved he will do well in the state’s nom­i­nat­ing cau­cuses, though he of­fered a ma­jor caveat.

“Even if he doesn’t rise to the top of the Demo­cratic ticket, I do be­lieve that he would make a very, very good vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date down the road,” said Mr. Hodg­den, who met Mr. O’Mal­ley ear­lier this month at an event in Cedar County.

Like other party ac­tivists, Mr. Hodg­den said he is wait­ing on Mrs. Clin­ton, who has been hun­kered down in hopes that the scan­dal over her ex­clu­sive use of pri­vate email dur­ing her ten­ure as sec­re­tary of state will blow over.

“I’m hold­ing back my judg­ment un­til she gets out here and be­gins to cam­paign, and then I’ll com­pare her to who­ever else is in the race,” he said.

“It de­pends how hard Hil­lary wants to cam­paign in Iowa and what her mes­sage is. And right now it’s se­cret. No­body knows,” said Mr. Hodg­den. “We know what she’s done in the past, but elec­tions for pres­i­dent are about the fu­ture, and we need to know what Hil­lary Clin­ton wants to bring to the con­test.”

Mr. O’Mal­ley’s sup­port­ers in­sist that Mrs. Clin­ton isn’t in­vin­ci­ble de­spite her huge lead in the polls.

“This isn’t about Hil­lary. It’s about Martin O’Mal­ley,” said Terry L. Lier­man, a for­mer chair­man of the Mary­land Demo­cratic Party who is ex­pected to play a key role in Mr. O’Mal­ley’s cam­paign.

“This is about sup­port­ing a gover­nor, a coun­cil mem­ber, a mayor with loads of ex­pe­ri­ence demon­strat­ing that he can get things done,” Mr. Lier­man said, re­fer­ring to Mr. O’Mal­ley’s public ser­vice in Bal­ti­more. “He’s a doer of deeds. It’s deeds that are im­por­tant, not words.”

He brushed off spec­u­la­tion that Mr. O’Mal­ley would be run­ning for any­thing other than pres­i­dent.

“They have noth­ing else to do but spec­u­late,” he said. “She [Mrs. Clin­ton] hasn’t de­cided if she is run­ning yet ei­ther.”


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