Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

At the outset of an address to Louisiana Democrats, O’Malley relayed that as mayor of Baltimore in 2005, he deployed a convoy of emergency responders from his city in the aftermath of the hurricane’s destruction.

“We resolved to send help from Maryland regardless of what FEMA said,” O’Malley said in his prepared remarks to the Louisiana Democratic Party Annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner.

“When our team from Maryland reached St. Bernard Parish, they saw something strange,” O’Malley continued. “From the flagpole, it was not the Stars and Stripes, but the red maple leaf of Canada. Our fire chief said, ‘Sherrif, what’s up with the Canadian flag?’ And he said, “Well sir, the first outside relief we received here at St. Bernard came from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.”

In the balance of his speech, O’Malley argued that Obama had moved the country forward despite inheriting daunting economic conditions from President Bush and that this year’s presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romeny, wants to take the country back.

“Back to what?” O’Malley asked. “Back to the record job losses of the Bush recession? Back to the record deficits and wars without end of the Bush administration? Back to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts, which ranked 47th of the 50 states in job creation? ... Back to the days of ‘heckuva job, Brownie?’”

The speech was the latest in a string of appearances that O’Malley has made around the country during his second as chairman of the Democratic Governor Association, a period that has also included regular bookings on Sunday talk shows.

The exposure has stoked speculation about a presidential run in 2016 at the same time it has raised questions about whether O’Malley is fully engaged n Maryland. O’Malley’s appearance in Louisiana, days before the Maryland legislature is set to convene for a special session he has called on expanded gambling, seemed likely to continue such talk.

Saturday night’s speech included several attack lines that O’Malley has used in other recent speeches and TV appearances, including his assertion that the country has a “constipation Congress.”

O’Malley also took aim again at Romney’s offshore financial arrangements.

“Swiss bank accounts never built an American school,” O’Malley said. “Swiss banks never built an American bridge, and Swiss bank accounts never rebuilt the levees to protect New Orleans, did they?”