On ‘Face the Nation,’ O’Malley sidesteps a question about facing Hillary Clinton in 2016


Maryland Gov. Martin OMalley, center, and other governors walk from the White House following a meeting on Friday. (AFP/Getty)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) sidestepped a question on national television Sunday about whether he will pursue the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 if Hillary Rodham Clinton gets in the race.

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” O’Malley told host Bob Schieffer that he is “looking at” a White House bid but would not engage on the question about Clinton.

“I think the most important question for any of us who feel that we have something to offer for our country’s future is to offer those ideas and to put those ideas out there and most importantly to ask the right questions, questions like, ‘What will it take to make sure that our middle class is growing again so we can grow our economy?’ ” O’Malley said. “And that’s what I’m going to be doing. And what the other candidates may or may not do is their choice.”

O’Malley in an interview with The Washington Post this month said he was not waiting for a decision from Clinton to make preparations for a possible bid.

According to a new Post poll published Saturday, O’Malley would face a very steep climb against Clinton, even in his home state.

Clinton was the choice of 72 percent of Maryland Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in a hypothetical 2016 presidential primary matchup. Vice President Biden received 9 percent. O’Malley received 6 percent support.

O’Malley was booked on “Face the Nation” as the Democratic Governors Association meets in Washington. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) also appeared on the program.

Schieffer asked O’Malley about a White House bid at the beginning of his segment.

“I’m looking at that, but the most immediate responsibility I have is to govern Maryland well, and through difficult times, we’ve made our public schools No. 1 in the country and achieved the best level of job creation of any state in the mid-Atlantic, and that’s really what it’s about,” O’Malley said. “When every state succeeds, then America succeeds.”

O’Malley also predicted that Americans would judge President Obama’s health-care reforms more favorably in a few months.

“I think the perceptions of the Affordable Care Act will greatly change once the enrollment period comes to a close at the end of March,” O’Malley said. “By the end of March, you will see most states hitting their goals, you’ll see our country having extended health care to more people, and all of those that have been scared and frightened that somehow something is going to happen to their health care will realize that those scare tactics were not true, that those were just falsehoods pedaled by the ideological right.”

O’Malley acknowledged that Maryland had “squibbed the kickoff” of its online health insurance exchange. But he said that large-scale government programs do not debut without some problems.

“With any new program, whether you go back to the start of Social Security or Medicaid, there’s always problems,” he said.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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