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Nov 3, 2015 11:09 PM

Steinhauser: O'Malley takes aim at Clinton, Sanders, in NH1 News interview

NH1 Political Director -

DURHAM – Martin O’Malley appears ready to rumble.

The former Maryland governor and Democratic presidential candidate took aim at rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Tuesday in a one-one-one interview with NH1 News. And he predicted that “we’ll see a lot more compare and contrast now that the introductory phase of this campaign is passed.”

O’Malley spoke with NH1 News minutes before holding a town hall event at the University of New Hampshire. The campaign stop was part of a jam-packed day that saw him go from Manchester to Durham, back to Manchester and then to Keene. The itinerary on Election Day 2015 included O’Malley joining Manchester alderman Joyce Craig, the Democratic mayoral nominee, at a polling station in the city’s first ward.

During the day, O’Malley touted seven executive actions he would take, if elected president, to try and curb gun violence.

“As a nation we have now buried because of guns and gun violence in our country since the attacks of September 11. Can you imagine what we would be doing if those Americans had been killed by Al Qaeda or by terrorists. We’ve got to take stronger actions to save lives,” he told NH1 News.

“I’ve advanced seven executive actions that we can take even as we work to forge a consensus for things like universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons. We can also do things right now. The president can with executive authority,” he added.

As O’Malley was in the first-in-the-nation primary state, Clinton went up with a new television ad in New Hampshire and Iowa that highlighted her push on gun control.

“How many people have to die before we actually act,” the Democratic front runner asks in the commercial, which uses clips of Clinton from a town hall on gun control that she held earlier this autumn in the Granite State.

Asked if Clinton’s TV spot was in reaction to his efforts on gun control, O’Malley said “I know we’re driving the discussion. In fact that’s what good campaigns do.”

O’Malley then fired away at Clinton, saying “Secretary Clinton’s been all over the place on this issue. In the past when she was running against President Obama she was trying to portray herself as Annie Oakley. And in the past she has said she wasn’t for universal background checks. Now she is and that’s a good thing.”

Both O’Malley and Clinton have criticized Sanders over his past voting record on gun control. O’Malley told NH1 News that “I believe that Sen. Sanders has made decisions and choices giving immunity to gun dealers that are inconsistent with the best interests of our nation and saving lives. And for those votes he’ll have to answer. For my part, I had the backbone to take on the NRA and I did so in my own state and I’m the only candidate of the three of us that can say that I got comprehensive gun safety legislation passed. It wasn’t easy, I had to take on the NRA.”

O’Malley’s latest swing through New Hampshire comes as the Democratic field has narrowed, with former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and former Rhode Island Gov. and Sen. Lincoln Chafee ending their bids for the nomination, and after Vice President Joe Biden decided against a 2016 presidential bid.

While O’Malley’s poll numbers are starting to edge up, he was at just three percent in a new Monmouth University poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters.

”I feel like our campaign finally just got off to its start with that very first Democratic debate and then very quickly the field narrowed to just three of us. So I’m excited about the next debate. I think we’ll see a lot more compare and contrast now that the introductory phase of this campaign is passed. And I think people are excited to know that they actually have an alternative to the front runners that everybody’s already heard of, so we’re picking up support all over New Hampshire and Iowa and I’m looking forward to a very exciting next 90 days,” O’Malley said.

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