Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a possible Democratic presidential candidate, said this evening at the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago he is "very seriously considering running in 2016."
"I am very seriously thinking about it, is what I would say," O'Malley said. "I've been very encouraged as I travel around the country by a number of people who repeat again and again and again their desire for getting things done again as a country and also for new leadership to get those things done."
O'Malley added that "right now" his "primary responsibility is to move my family back to Baltimore," which he said he will do in the next two weeks when his term ends.
O'Malley didn't mention the person who could be his most prominent rival, Hillary Clinton, but before he took the stage former Obama strategist David Axelrod said Clinton needs to "think like an insurgent" if she runs. Axelrod, who serves as the director of the Institute of Politics, also described Clinton as not a “very good candidate” in 2007, but said she became better when she was the underdog later in the campaign.
At the event billed as a discussion on "progressive politics in a post-Obama world," O'Malley said he thinks the "driving issue" of the 2016 campaign will be the "question of how we make our economy work again for all of us."
"We've come a long way to restoring that economy, but not yet to a point where our wages are actually rising again, where people feel if they are working harder they are able to get further ahead and that's what I hear again and again across the country," he said.
O'Malley briefly discussed the midterm elections where Republicans won congressional and gubernatorial seats across the country. Even in his blue state of Maryland, O'Malley's lieutenant governor Anthony Brown lost to Republican Larry Hogan.
The moderator asked him if that loss could hurt his future political aspirations and he answered that he would "let others determine whether" whether his "prospects were hurt," but said, "I can tell you my feelings were hurt."
"We had done a lot of really good things in Maryland and in the end you did not hear much about it during the campaign," O'Malley said of Brown's run. "I was not on the ballot."
Without mentioning Brown by name, O’Malley stressed that many of his progressive causes he championed during his time in office were ignored by Brown on the trail saying, "You never heard about those things."
Axelrod asked O'Malley about the "very real" global security challenge in light of the Paris terror attacks earlier this week.
O’Malley expressed his condolences, saying “our hearts go out to the people of Paris, France who are suffering,” but added, “I wish it weren’t so, but we are going to be going through probably 100 years of figuring out how to deal with this new type of warfare, asymmetrical warfare, global terrorism and extremism.”
O’Malley said “the most important assets” this country “brings to this challenge are the power of our principles and as we exercise our military, our diplomatic, our economic might in response to these threats it’s very important we strive always to exercise those powers in ways that are consistent with our principles and our belief in the dignity of every individual.”
Without specifically mentioning last year’s torture report, O’Malley cautioned that it is important that “we don't throw overboard certain norms in human behavior, humane treatment of prisoners and the like that actually make us a beacon of hope and light throughout this world of ours.”
Axelrod, who moderated part of the event, also asked O’Malley for his “general sense of what America’s role is in the world today and what it will be tomorrow” and O’Malley answered that after much thought and consultation with national security and diplomatic experts that we have to “move beyond what very often were quick military reactions to the threats around our globe, to a new and more consistent and intelligent way to being consistently engaged all around the world.”
“We are not an island nation,” he added in a line we are likely to hear again if he does hit the 2016 campaign trail. “It is only at our own peril that we disengage from the rest of the world."