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Mon Feb 1, 2016, 12:51 PM

'We're all in this together,' O'Malley tells supporters in Cedar Rapids.

Former Maryland governor rallies supporters for Monday's caucuses.

CEDAR RAPIDS — Dozens chanted “Hold strong! Hold strong! Hold strong!” after Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley’s encouraged supporters and volunteers at his field office in Cedar Rapids Sunday afternoon.

“We are in a tough fight, and I have always been drawn to a tough fight. I believe the toughness of the fight is the (hidden way that) God has for telling us we’re fighting for something worth saving,” O’Malley shouted while standing on a chair and referring to his low 4.4 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers. That puts him behind former Secretary of State’s Hillary Clinton at 47.3 percent and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 44 percent, according to RealClearPolitics polling average as of Sunday.

“When you go into the caucus, fight for viability, fight to beat expectations to change this race for the better,” he said. “I want you to go in there and hold strong — not for just my candidacy, but hold strong for that little third-grade boy or girl, hold strong for the senior citizen that has played by the rules their entire life but find they have to choose between buying medicine or food.

“Hold strong for the mom and dad working three jobs between them that still sweat over paying the bills.”

Highlights of the former Maryland governor’s speech also included pushing for investments for education and raising the minimum wage and Society Security benefits.

“This is the first time at this point I have cared so much for a candidate,” Marilee Reinertson Torres of Cedar Rapids said. “He is the only candidate that is talking about the things we need. I have four grandkids, and I want to see things get better for them.”

O’Malley took to the phones to urge Iowans to choose a candidate who can bring together Republicans and Democrats.

“Whenever we face times of stalemates like this, one essential ingredient pushing through these times is new leadership,” he said. “We can’t expect to bring people together by declaring that all millionaires, billionaires and Republicans are our enemies. We are all in this together.”


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