|Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley spoke to about 20 people at a union hall in Denison, Iowa today.|
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley Friday afternoon sought to position himself as the fresh face of his party with challenges to what he says are electability and loyalty issues with his primary opponents.
“We’re not going to solve our problems by debating the pros and cons of socialism,” O’Malley said. “We’re not going to solve our problems by declaring that all Republicans are our enemies.”
O’Malley added, “I do believe our country is looking for a new leader and they’re going to find it in one party or the other.”
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders self identifies as democratic socialist. Hillary Clinton said in the CNN Democratic debate that some of the enemies she is most proud of making are Republicans.
Saying it is “compare and contrast” time, O’Malley, during speech at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union hall in Denison, said Sanders betrayed President Obama before the 2012 election cycle by seeking to recruit a more left-leaning primary challenger for Obama. O’Malley did not identify any of the potential 2012 Democratic candidates.
“A lot of us like Barack Obama,” O’Malley said. “In fact, when Senator Sanders was trying to get somebody to primary Barack Obama four years ago I was stepping up and working very hard for his re-election.”
After the speech the Carroll Daily Times Herald asked O’Malley directly if he thinks Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, exhibited disloyalty to Obama during the president’s re-election campaign.
“Yes, I do,” O’Malley said. “I think that the president inherited a big mountain of challenges and what he needed was support in being re-elected. He didn’t need a challenge from the left or a challenge from within the party.”
O’Malley said he was out “early and strong” for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
“Senator Sanders, meanwhile, was trying to recruit somebody to primary the president,” O’Malley said.
In an interview Saturday night in Des Moines, Sanders’ state campaign director Robert Becker dismissed the O’Malley claim as unfounded political nonsense. He said Sanders and Obama are friends.
Becker, who attended the League of United Latin American Citizens dinner in Des Moines, pointed out that Sanders continues to draw large, enthusiastic crowds in Iowa.
About 20 people attended the O’Malley event in Denison.