"I don't know what Secretary Clinton's approach to Wall Street might be. She will run her own campaign, and I will run mine. I can tell you this: I am not beholden to Wall Street interests," O'Malley said.
O'Malley, who was mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to early 2007 before serving as Maryland governor until this year, defended his record on policing strategies, which has come under criticism in recent months. Amid protests over the police-custody death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, critics have pointed to the "zero-tolerance" policy enacted under O'Malley's mayoral tenure as having contributed to the current tensions between Baltimore residents and the police department.
O'Malley noted the reduction in violent crimes in the city while he was mayor but added that more progress needs to be made in Baltimore and the rest of the United States to improve poverty and unemployment rates.
“It’s interesting, isn’t it? For all of the progress that we make, there's always so much more that needs to be done," he said.
Polls show that O'Malley faces a tough path to present himself as a serious challenger to Clinton; he has 1 percent of the public support nationally, according to one poll. President Obama even joked during his White House Correspondents' Dinner speech about O'Malley going unnoticed at his own campaign event.
"I've been there before," O'Malley said when asked about the poll numbers. But he added that he is confident he can make up the gap during his campaign.
"Look, I think the presidential primary process and the caucuses in Iowa have a certain greatness to them, and it is this: That people there have seen 1 percent candidates before get into the van, go from county to county to county, make their case about the better choices that they would offer the nation, and suddenly become very well known overnight when people make up their mind," O'Malley said.