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Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (D) at the signing of the Chesapeake Watershed Agreement in June 2014. O'Malley on Sunday described climate change as a "natural," as opposed to "manmade," threat. (Photo: Chesapeake Bay Program/cc/flickr)

Taking Aim at Clinton, Former Maryland Governor Says Presidency 'Not a Crown'

Testing the waters for potential nomination bid, Martin O'Malley calls for a president willing to take on 'wealthy, special interests'

Lauren McCauley

Taking direct aim at likely 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and in a nod to his own presidential aspirations former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley on Sunday said that what the country needs most now is "new perspective" and "new leadership."

"Let's be honest here," O'Malley told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on This Week. "The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people."

In recent months, O'Malley has been testing the waters in Iowa and New Hampshire with talking points that include some of the progressive community's biggest criticisms of the former Secretary of State.

"[W]e need a president who is on our side, a president who is willing to take on powerful, wealthy, special interests in order restore that sort of American economy where wherever you start on the earnings spectrum, you can get ahead through your hard work," O'Malley said Sunday. "That's not the economy we have today."

When asked if Clinton is the candidate to take on those special interests, O'Malley—who showed clear reluctance to openly attack the frontrunner—responded: "Will she represent a break with the failed policies of the past? Well, I don't know."

"Right now," O'Malley continued, "it's not even a fair fight. It's as if Wall Street owns one party, and is trying to totally intimidate the other party." He added that the next leader must be willing to put "national interests first."

In the build up to the Election 2016 campaign season, progressive groups eager to back an alternative to Clinton continue to pressure Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to represent the interests of the left. However, Warren has repeatedly said that she is not interested in the presidency.

O'Malley says he will make a decision on whether or not to run this spring.

During his Sunday appearance, O'Malley also championed what he described as his own "policies of inclusion," including marriage equality and the DREAM Act.

And, in what NBC correspondent Steve Kornacki describes as a "Warren-esque move," O'Malley called for the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall banking reform act, as well as a national minimum wage hike, during his appearance on NBC's Morning Joe on Monday.

However, showing a more moderate stance, while discussing with Stephanopoulos the greatest threats facing the U.S., O'Malley described climate change as a "natural," as opposed to "manmade," threat.


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