(CNN) – Martin O'Malley's schedule this week will likely spur further speculation the Maryland governor could be gearing up for a presidential run.
The Democrat, whose second term ends in January 2015, spoke on the same stage as Vice President Joe Biden–another potential 2016 candidate–at an opening for the University of Baltimore's new law center Tuesday night.
At the event, O'Malley received strong acclaim from the vice president, who praised Maryland's governor for pursuing tough gun laws.
"Your governor did the right thing. You did the right thing. We owe you for that," Biden told the audience on the eve of the Senate vote over several amendments to combat gun violence.
One of the key provisions of the Senate legislation involving background checks, however, may struggle to get through.
Maryland is one of a few states that have passed sweeping gun laws since the Newtown elementary school shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead in December.
Biden hailed O'Malley for having the "guts and courage to ask" his state to support the bill, which includes an assault weapons ban.
"It will not be the first time a state or states have led the federal government," he said. "We owe you, whether we live in Maryland or not, we owe you for showing the rest of the country the way."
The event marked the first in a string of high-profile appearances O'Malley will make this week.
Wednesday, first lady Michelle Obama attends O'Malley's bill signing for veterans at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. And at the end of the week, the governor flies to Israel, a country widely-seen as a must-stop for elected officials seeking higher office.
Now that Maryland's state legislature has passed a wave of measures backed by the governor–including the stricter gun laws, as well as same-sex marriage rights and a repeal of the death penalty–O'Malley told The Baltimore Sun last week he will use the second half of the year to consider whether he'll pursue a bid for the White House.
"I need to be spending a lot more energy and time giving serious consideration and preparation to what – if anything – I might have to offer should I decide to run for president in 2016," O'Malley said. As someone who typically dodges questions about his political future, the interview marked the first time O'Malley publicly laid out a timeline for his thought process on the 2016 campaign.
With O'Malley's name floating as a potential Democratic presidential candidate, his calendar is being closely watched. This week's series of major events comes a few weeks after O'Malley traveled to South Carolina, the first-in-the-South primary state in presidential elections, to speak at a conference for Palmetto State Democrats. While there, he fired off on the state's Republican governor, Nikki Haley.
If O'Malley decides to run, he may face major competition should former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also decide to get her name on the ballot. In a Washington Post poll conducted in late February, Clinton was seen as the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nominee among Americans.
More than half–56%–of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents chose Clinton in a hypothetical match-up of potential contenders. Biden garnered 18% support, while O'Malley came in at eight percent. Even among Maryland residents, O'Malley still came in way behind Clinton and slightly behind Biden.