LAS VEGAS — Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is chomping at the bit to get on stage Tuesday at the first Democratic presidential debate, where he plans to distinguish himself from front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and the others as the best candidate to finish what President Obama started, according to his campaign.
The O’Malley campaign distributed a memo that outlined his view of the debate and his strategy for making a splash in a race where, despite his strong liberal record, he has been stuck at the back of the field and struggling to get the attention of voters.
“This is a truly critical moment in our nation’s history. President Obama — a truly transformative President — saved us from a total economic collapse and delivered on important priorities like Obamacare. We now need someone who can carry the ball the rest of the way,” O’Malley deputy campaign director Lis Smith wrote in the memo.
She described how the debate stage would be where Mr. O’Malley’s would make the case to a national TV audience that he was the one to take the ball from Mr. Obama.
The former governor will tout his record of implementing a liberal agenda in Maryland, as opposed to rivals such as Mrs. Clinton who has only recently adopted left-wing positions and lacks executive experience, she said.
Mr. O’Malley also has been eclipsed by Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent and avowed socialist whose far-left agenda and populist rhetoric has energized the party’s liberal base and made him the chief rival to Mrs. Clinton.
“What sets Governor O’Malley apart from every other Democrat on stage are a few things. Many of the other Democrats on stage espouse progressive values, but he’s the only one who has actually put them into action: He raised the minimum wage; he abolished the death penalty; and he signed into law marriage equality, the DREAM Act, and the most comprehensive gun safety laws in the nation. He didn’t decide to fight those tough fights because of polls — he fought them on the basis of his principles,” she wrote.