— -- Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who announced Saturday that he will officially seek the Democratic Party's nomination for president, continued trying to separate himself from frontrunner Hillary Clinton, telling ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos during an exclusive interview Monday morning that the "times have changed" and pointing to the 2008 crash on Wall Street as evidence for the country needing a new generation of leadership.
On the campaign trail, O'Malley has attacked Clinton for what he says is a close relationship to Wall Street.
O'Malley told Stephanopoulos that the "people of the United States, not Wall Street," should to decide the next president, and leaders on Wall Street allegedly seeming OK with a Clinton or a Bush in the White House should be "wake-up call for all of us."
In 2008, O'Malley supported Clinton's first run for president, a fact that former Obama adviser and campaign strategist David Axelrod noted this week on Twitter, saying, "O'Malley is a dynamic, accomplished guy. But he was all in for HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] in '08, so isn't it a bit awkward to rail against 'royal families' now."
O'Malley responded by saying the country faces "different challenges now." He told Stephanopoulos the most notable difference between then and now was the 2008 economic crash, adding that since then the country had failed to reign in the "excess of Wall Street."
"I believe we need new leadership," he said. "We need to get things done again."
He said that he called Clinton this week and said he told her he was looking forward to "a robust conversation about the issues that face our country."
O'Malley emphasized his experience as an executive, having served two terms as mayor of Baltimore and two terms as governor of Maryland. In response to criticism in the Wall Street Journal today that he raised taxes, O'Malley argued that the state enjoyed its highest median income while he was governor and had a AAA bond rating. He added that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which "hardly ever says nice things about Democratic elected officials anywhere," named Maryland No. 1 in innovation and entrepreneurship three years in a row.
For fans of his other talents -- singing and playing guitar -- O'Malley said stay tuned.
"When I go through Iowa and New Hampshire, guitars seem to fall out of the rafters," he joked, saying that supporters can expect to see him strumming again soon.