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Thu Oct 29, 2015, 06:34 PM

O'Malley hits Clinton on death penalty, changing views.

The United States "has no business" being on the list of countries that executes its citizens, even those convicted of brutal crimes, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said Thursday.

The Democratic presidential hopeful's remarks came the day after front-runner Hillary Clinton said she's against abolishing the death penalty because there are "certain egregious cases" where it could still be merited, according to the New York Times.

"It's very hard to have any sympathy for mass murderers, for people like the Boston bomber or any of these individuals," he said in a short interview after meeting with The Des Moines Register's editorial board. "But the principle is this: Capital punishment is not a deterrent. Capital punishment is, in fact, inconsistent with our principles as a nation."

O'Malley has been a critic of capital punishment on the campaign trail leading up the Iowa caucus, and abolished the death penalty in Maryland during his time as governor. He also commuted the death sentences of the four inmates on the state's death row at the time.

"Our children don't deserve to be complicitous in the taking of lives, even lives that have done really, really horrible things," he added.

Clinton at a New Hampshire breakfast Wednesday said that the death penalty is "flawed" and "too often applied in a discriminatory way."

"I think we have to take a hard look at it," she said.

O'Malley has recently ratcheted up his direct attacks on the former secretary of state. The former governor on Monday accused Clinton of changing "her position on virtually every defining issue in this race" on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

O'Malley on Thursday compared Clinton's stance on the death penalty to her position on other issues, including gay marriage. In 2006, Clinton supported letting individual states make decisions on gay marriage before announcing her own support in 2013, according to PolitiFact.

"Secretary Clinton seems to have a default position to state's rights on many things," he said. "She was very much one who said marriage equality was a state's rights thing, and now she's saying (the death penalty) is a state's rights thing. She has said immigration issues like driver's licenses for new American immigrants was a state's rights issue. I think the way that we forge consensus and the way we get things done and the way we solve problems is being very clear about our principles, and I think that leaders who are effective don't wait for the polls to tell you that it's safe."


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