MILWAUKEE — Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) sure sounds like someone gearing up to make a run for the White House in 2016, telling reporters here Saturday that by the end of 2013, he expects to have amassed the experience and policy record necessary for a viable candidacy.
"By the end of this year, I think we're on course to have a body of work that lays the framework of a candidacy for 2016," O'Malley said on the sidelines of the National Governors Association meeting.
O'Malley, who is term-limited, said in April that he is considering a White House bid and would give it more serious consideration during the latter part of 2013. His Saturday comments are a fresh sign that a presidential campaign might be in the offing.
O'Malley said another part of his process of weighing a bid for the White House is the work he is doing via his political action committee, helping elect "like-minded candidates." So is increasing his social media presence, O'Malley said.
"I have been taking more time to let my soul catch up with where my body's been, you know? To slow down a little bit, and to spend a little more time thinking, and writing, and reading and spending some time with my kids," O'Maley said.
What has O'Malley been reading? Richard Haass's "Foreign Policy Begins at Home," Eric Liu's "The Gardens of Democracy" and Parker Palmer's "Healing the Heart of Democracy."
O'Malley built up his liberal credentials during the last legislative session in Maryland, winning passage of bills on guns, the death penalty and transportation.
Any discussion of the 2016 Democratic race hinges of the question of whether former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton runs for president. If Clinton runs, she would be a heavy favorite to win the nomination. It remains to be seen whether O'Malley, who is not well-known outside of his home state, would make a bid if Clinton does.
O'Malley did not mention Clinton in his remarks. He said he believes the country is going through a "crisis of confidence" that won't be resolved by 2014, hinting at a possible presidential campaign platform.
"I think you will still see a lot of angst and anxiety from the vast majority of people who are working harder every day and seeing their buying power go flat or even decline," said O'Malley. "We're going through this crisis of confidence. And great republics sometimes go through these periods." The governor later added: "We will get through that period, of that I have no doubt. I don't think we are going to get through that period by 2014."