Democrat Martin O'Malley Testing Presidential Waters in Iowa

Sunday, 22 Jun 2014 07:20 PM

By Greg Richter

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Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is making no secret of his aspirations for higher office, making a rousing speech to Democrats in Iowa, an early battleground for the presidential nomination.

O'Malley played up his achievements and aimed to inspire before the state's Democratic convention on Saturday, The Des Moines Register reported.

NBC News described his 30 minutes on stage as having "stump speech undertones."

"When I was elected mayor in 1999, my city, Baltimore, had become the most violent, most addicted, most abandoned city in America," O'Malley said. But he said his administration picked up trash, shut drug markets, got addicts into recovery programs, and got people to mentor children and become police officers.

"And it did work. The people of Baltimore rallied," he said. "It was about something deeper — the belief that there is no such thing as a spare American."

Governor since 2006, he noted that Maryland recently raised the state's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and that job opportunities are growing, as is the state's median wage.

O'Malley likely hopes for larger turnouts should he seek the nation's top office. The Register said the state party convention yielded a mere 370 delegates, barely more than the 40 percent needed for a quorum.

But O'Malley didn't seem unhappy with his reception, making sure to shake every hand even though he was pressed for time.

Hillary Clinton's potential candidacy is the top story in Democratic circles, and the former senator and secretary of State has yet to say whether she'll run. If she does, she's the odds-on frontrunner, but O'Malley told the Register that doesn't mean other candidates need not apply.

"Anyone who thinks they have something to offer our country as a leader has the opportunity to do that," O'Malley told the newspaper. "Every candidate, every potential candidate, will go about it in a different way. Each of them needs to do what they feel is best to offer their best."

One delegate asked O'Malley for his autograph for when "he becomes president," NBC reported, and another told him he was looking forward to O'Malley's next trip to Iowa.

"So am I," O'Malley said.

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