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2016 campaign checklist: O'Malley

Wednesday - 1/22/2014, 5:00pm  ET

BRIAN WITTE
Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- A look at Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's preparations for a potential 2016 presidential campaign:

Nondenial denial: "By the end of this year, we're on course to have a body of work that lays the framework of the candidacy for 2016," O'Malley said in August 2013 in an acknowledgment of presidential ambition that is rare in the field. He's said little publicly since: "I'm thinking about it." -- CNN, January.

Book: No. "I'm very busy doing what I'm doing," O'Malley said in November 2013. "Where would I ever find the time to do something like that?"

Iowa: Yes, in fall 2012 headlined Sen. Tom Harkin's annual steak fry, a must-stop for many Democrats seeking to compete in the leadoff caucuses. In Maryland, attended fundraiser for Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley.

New Hampshire: Yes, in November 2013, spoke at Democratic Party dinner, where he criticized a political climate with "a lot more excuses and ideology than cooperation or action" and promoted himself as Baltimore's former mayor and a governor who can get things done. Also spoke at a 2012 convention of New Hampshire Democrats. Appeared at May fundraiser in Washington area for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

South Carolina: Yes, April 2013 speech to Democratic activists.

Foreign travel: Yes, considerable. Israel this year for a second time. Also Denmark, Ireland, France, Brazil and El Salvador in 2013. Asia in 2011, Iraq in 2010.

Meet the money: Has many bases covered as one of the party's top fundraisers. Raised more than $1 million for Obama's re-election campaign and in December ended his year as finance chairman for the Democratic Governors Association.

Networking: Yes. Was DGA chairman for two years until December 2012. Campaigned in October 2013 for Democratic candidates in important presidential campaign states such as Florida, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas. Springtime speech to party activists in South Carolina, a key early primary state.

Hog the TV: January 2014 Sunday news show appearance on CNN, first in months. In September 2013, sparred with Perry over job creation and health care on CNN.

Do something: Has posted some victories as governor that appeal to liberals: toughened gun laws, repealed the death penalty, saw voters approve gay marriage after he got behind legislation to approve it, set up a framework to develop offshore wind power. 2014 priorities include raising state's minimum wage and expanding prekindergarten.

Take a stand: Liberal checklist: increased spending on education, infrastructure, transportation; supports same-sex marriage, immigration overhaul, repealing death penalty, pushes environmental protections.

Baggage: It's not just the federal healthcare.gov site that tied people in knots. Rocky start for state-run health insurance exchange prompted emergency legislation to help Marylanders enroll. Embarrassing contraband- and drug-smuggling scheme at state-run Baltimore City Detention Center that resulted in 44 people being indicted prompted O'Malley to take immediate actions and make a variety of budget and policy proposals to increase security at the detention center and prisons. The governor has a record of raising taxes that could be challenged by less liberal Democrats, never mind Republicans. Higher taxes on sales, corporate income, gasoline, people making more than $100,000 and sewer bills. Shot across the bow from Maryland Republican Party chairwoman Diana Waterman: "Outrageously high taxes, a hostile regulatory environment, and thousands of people who are closing shop or leaving the state for greener pastures. This 'progress' he likes to boast about will be a tough sell to voters in Iowa and tax-wary New Hampshire."

O'Malley's deflection: A vigorous defense of his record and state's business climate. U.S. Chamber of Commerce rates Maryland No. 1 for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Shadow campaign: Set up political action committee called O'Say Can You See and hired two people for fundraising and communications.

Social media: On Twitter, standard governor's fare but promotes rare appearances by his Celtic rock band, O'Malley's March, for which he sings and plays guitar, banjo and tin whistle. On Facebook, his PAC-generated page is more active than official governor's account.


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