Aug 26, 2015 11:34 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
WINDHAM – Martin O’Malley touted his plan to expand Social Security, criticized Democratic party officials for limiting the number of presidential primary debates, took some shots at front runner Hillary Clinton, and welcomed the prospect of Vice President Joe Biden entering the race for the White House, as he spoke one-on-one with NH1 News Wednesday.
Asked if he’s talked to Biden and whether a 2016 bid by the vice president would help or hurt his own campaign, O’Malley said “I haven’t had occasion to talk to Vice President Biden about this very personal decision. I’m sure he’ll make it in consultation with his friend and his family.”
“I have a great deal of respect for him. A neighbor being from Delaware and I certainly know him well and I believe that he offers a tremendous amount of experience and wisdom and I think his entrance into this race could only help the Democratic primary debate provided we’re allowed to have debates,” O’Malley added.
O’Malley, who's a long shot for the nomination, spoke with NH1 News minutes after attending a house party at a lakeshore home in Windham. It was the first stop in a crowded two day itinerary for O’Malley in the first-in-the-nation primary state. He arrived in the Granite State as eight progressive groups urged Clinton to clarify whether she supports legislation that would ban government employees from accepting bonus from their past private sector employers for entering public service.
“I believe that one of the most important issues in this race is whether the next president of the United States has the independence to put cops back on the Wall Street beat and to rein in recklessness on Wall Street. I’ve put forward my plan. We haven’t seen a plan from Secretary Clinton,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley is on a crusade to increase the number of debates sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. The DNC is calling for just six debates, with the sole New Hampshire showdown scheduled for mid-December, far before the February 9 primary.
“I believe that the people of New Hampshire deserve more than just one debate before the New Hampshire primary. In fact, I find it absolutely outrageous that the DNC, in an unprecedented way, would try to limit the number of debates in this presidential contest. I mean have we become so impoverished as a so called Democratic Party that we can only afford one debate in New Hampshire. That’s not good for our party. It’s not good for our country. It’s not good for voters. We need to have debates and we should have started having them weeks ago,” O’Malley said.
“I mean all you see in the news right now Paul, every day you hear about the Republican candidates, you hear about the Republican debates, you hear about Donald Trump and on our side you heard about mostly questions about emails and Benghazi and what did Hillary know and when did she know it. That’s not a debate. That’s not a good brand for the party,” O’Malley continued.
O’Malley repeated his call for “at least three debates in Iowa and three debates in New Hampshire before this critically important decision.”
“For the DNC to try to obfuscate here I think again is just more of a sign that they’re circling the wagons. Look if this isn’t being done intentionally and solely to try to prop up and circle the wages around the frontrunner, then tell me why Secretary Clinton hasn’t called for more debates. This has never happened before that the DNC has told you guys that you can only one debate in New Hampshire,” he added.
Asked about recent stories that as a mayoral and gubernatorial candidate, O’Malley tried to limit the number of debates, he shot back, saying “this is stuff that the DNC has pumped out there and some leaders in the DNC have pumped out there in order to try to discredit the call for more debates because they’re feeling the heat. No one in Iowa and no one in New Hampshire believes that it’s the DNC’s job to tell Iowa or New Hampshire that they can only have one debate. When I ran for mayor I participated in three or more mayoral debates. Did the same in my re-election and as governor as a challenger we had three debates. As governor in re-election we had three debates.”
Asked about his plan to increase Social Security, O’Malley said “I believe for the sake of our country we need to expand Social Security. The truth of the matter is many of our retirees are facing retirement not in dignity but a retirement in poverty. And that’s not good for our economy, that’s not good for our country. Social Security has worked for many, many years and we can strengthen it, make it stronger, expand Social Security benefits.”
O’Malley proposes increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans to help pay for his plan. Asked how he might get such a proposal through Congress, O’Malley said “you have to talk about what’s good for our nation. I mean no great people ever built up their country by doing less for their country. We have to do more for our country and we have to do more for one another. And in order to make Social Security actually work and do what it’s supposed to for our seniors. I think that most people would agree the scrapping the cap above $250,000, while it only affects 1.4% of us, it is a good thing for the nation and it’s a good thing for the common good we share and for the seniors who have to retire in poverty.”
O’Malley’s won over former state Sen. Peter Hoe Burling, who also served as Democratic leader in the state House of Representatives and as a DNC committeeman.
“He’s been doing things that we could only hope for here in New Hampshire,” Hoe Burling told NH1 News
“I think he’s completely fearless. I mean who else would be campaigning in New Hampshire happily when frankly the press has made this a Bernie versus Hillary campaign,” he added.
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