The Washington Post

O’Malley: Hillary Clinton would make a ‘great’ president — if she runs

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in September. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is weighing a 2016 bid for national office, said in a television interview that aired Sunday that Hillary Clinton could be “a great president” if she decides to seek the Democratic nomination.

“She’s great,” O’Malley said when asked about Clinton. “I think she’s an outstanding leader, and I think she could be a great president, if she chooses to do it.”

O’Malley’s appearance on the locally produced “Square Off,” which airs on WMAR, Baltimore’s ABC affiliate, was somewhat of a departure from his more recent run of national Sunday morning talk shows.

Several O’Malley advisers have said they think it is unlikely that O’Malley would run against Clinton, who has said she is not interested in the job, but is being urged by supporters to run. O’Malley was among the first governors to endorse Clinton when she sought the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination against President Obama.

When asked by host Richard Sher about his own ambitions, O’Malley largely side-stepped the question, saying: “I don’t know that anyone in their right mind, you know, looks at that awesome responsibility without having to do a lot of soul searching and a lot of discernment and introspection.”

He added: “The reason I’m able to hear people talk about that possibility and not be wigged out by it is that I know it’s a reflection of the good things the people of our state have done in these difficult years.”

During the interview, which was taped Friday, O’Malley also took a few shots at his Republican predecessor, former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

O’Malley accused Ehrlich of fostering divisions between Democratic legislative leaders that made it more difficult to resolve prickly issues like gambling.

“Governor Ehrlich showed time and again that he was incapable of the serious work of governing, or of the even more difficult work of bringing people together in a spirit of respect and compromise,” O’Malley said.

In response to a question by Sher, O’Malley said he could not recall the last time he talked to Ehrlich, whom he defeated as an incumbent in 2006 and as a challenger making a comeback bid in 2010.

O’Malley volunteered that Ehrlich had not called to congratulate him on election night in 2010. Asked if was “unusual” not to make that call, O’Malley said: “I think it’s good manners.”

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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