BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Rolling the dice in Las Vegas. The pundits weighed in on how former Governor Martin O’Malley did in the first Democratic presidential debate. The big showdown was watched by more than 15 million people.
Political reporter Pat Warren took a closer look at how O’Malley stacks up against the top candidates.
The first Democratic presidential debate drew ratings but no blood—though not for lack of trying on Martin O’Malley’s part. It also served as his introduction to the country.
“After 15 years of executive experience, I have learned how to be an effective leader,” he said.
He drew on that experience throughout the debate in a feisty exchange with Bernie Sanders on gun control laws he signed as governor.
“And we did it by leading by principle, not by pandering to the NRA or backing down to the NRA,” O’Malley said.
“Well, as someone with a D- voting record, I won’t think I am pandering but you have not been in the United States Congress,” Sanders said.
“And maybe that’s a healthy thing,” O’Malley replied.
He defended his zero tolerance policy as mayor of Baltimore.
“Look, none of this is easy. None of us has all the answers but together, as a city, we saved a lot of lives,” he said.
There was the inevitable reminder that he was among the first to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2008.
“And I enjoyed his strong support in that campaign,” he said.
He addressed that in his critique of Wall Street.
“Secretary Clinton mentioned my support and Secretary, I was proud to support you eight years ago but something happened in between,” he said. “A Wall Street crash that wiped out millions of jobs.”
But in selling himself on the job of president, analysts say he was overshadowed by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
“Given the two top performances, Governor O’Malley is still in the weeds,” said legal analyst Matthew Crenson. “He could pick up a few percent but not enough to make him presidential.”
Tell that to Governor O’Malley. He said Wednesday morning he’s in it to win it and continues to pressure the Democratic National Committee to give the candidates more debates.
“I see the chair of the DNC here. Look how glad we are actually to be talking about the issues that matter most to people around their kitchen table. We need wages to go up, college more affordable and make America 100% clean electric by 2050,” he said.
O’Malley spoke for 16 minutes and 51 seconds, third behind Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
The Democrats have scheduled a total of six debates.