O’Malley opens long-shot White House bid
BALTIMORE — Martin O’Malley’s presidential campaign announcement Saturday was the type he long envisioned: a scenic waterfront setting, a big, enthusiastic hometown audience and introductory speakers lauding the his record of public service that began in the mayor’s office.
The problem: It was Bernie Sanders’ announcement in Vermont, just days before O’Malley was to follow a similar script.
This week’s Sanders rally was the latest bit of thunder-stealing that has deprived O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland and long-shot candidate, of what he needs to have any chance at the Democratic nomination. O’Malley not only must contend with a dominant frontrunner in Hillary Clinton, but is being upstaged by Sanders, the shrewd self-styled socialist senator from Vermont who has made an early and successful play for Clinton skeptics in the party base.
O’Malley’s pitch Saturday, with a heavy dose of anti-Wall Street rhetoric and calls to restore the middle-class dream, was aimed squarely at progressive voters who have been drawn to Sanders and aren’t keen on another Clinton in the White House.
“I’ve got news for the bullies of Wall Street: The presidency is not a crown to be passed back and forth by you between two royal families,” O’Malley said from atop Baltimore’s Federal Hill, which overlooks the city’s Inner Harbor and downtown skyline.
O’Malley has been carefully laying the groundwork for a White House run for years — some in Baltimore might even say the ambitious former mayor’s plotting began well more than a decade ago when he was still in City Hall.