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Tue Dec 1, 2015, 05:47 PM

O'Malley to House Dems: U.S. Needs New Leadership.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley had a simple message for House Democrats Tuesday: If he can’t be their first choice for president now, he’d like to be their second choice, and maybe get their support in the future. . .

After the meeting, O’Malley set up a sharp contrast between himself, Clinton and Sanders, telling reporters that Democrats face a choice in the primary between crony capitalism and socialism.

“Between the sort of crony capitalist and Wall Street capitalism, economy of the few, by the few, for the few, and the proven failure that is socialism, there is a better way forward and it is fair market, American capitalism where, when people work hard, they’re able to get ahead,” O’Malley said. “That is the sort of philosophy I put into action as governor and even as mayor.”

He also attacked both of his opponents on the issue of immigration, pointing in particular to a 2007 failed vote on comprehensive reform in the Senate when both Clinton and Sanders were in the upper chamber. That legislation would have offered legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants while providing increased border security, but it failed to pass despite some bipartisan support. O’Malley criticized Sanders for voting against the measure, and Clinton for supporting it while also voting for an amendment he labeled a “poison pill” that helped kill the legislation.

“Sen. Sanders has a big vulnerability, as does Secretary Clinton, on the issue of immigration,” O’Malley said. “Theirs is the old thinking that’s prevented us from getting this done. Theirs is the old thinking that says one thing to one group and one thing to another. Theirs is the old thinking that fails to recognize that comprehensive immigration reform actually makes our economy stronger and our country stronger."

Swalwell said O’Malley also set up contrasts between Republicans he might face in the general election, positioning himself as able to take on the “carnival show that the Donald Trump campaign would be” and also able to contrast the potential message of youth and energy that would come from Sen. Marco Rubio.

Swalwell said he hopes that in the coming months some of his colleagues will join him in endorsing O’Malley, but that today’s meeting was about showing that the former governor is a viable alternative to the front-running Clinton and Sanders.

“He’s patient, he’s prepared and he’s offering members of the caucus time to watch and evaluate him and come on board when it’s right for them,” Swalwell said. “I think right now he’s proven that he’s a credible, viable candidate for our party’s nomination."


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