First on CNN: O'Malley takes aim at Haley in South Carolina
March 23rd, 2013
07:00 AM ET
10 years ago

First on CNN: O'Malley takes aim at Haley in South Carolina

(CNN) - Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland will unleash a blistering critique of his Republican counterpart in South Carolina, Nikki Haley, in remarks to a Democratic party conference in Charleston on Saturday.

O'Malley plans to attack Haley, who is up for re-election next year, as "tea party Republican" who cares more about voter ID laws than expanding health care access and education for South Carolinians, according to early excerpts of his speech provided to CNN.

"Spare me your ideology," O'Malley will say. "Show me how your choices are working for all of us, and for all of our families. Now, some of these new tea party Republican governors are funny in this regard, aren't they? They run on a platform claiming government isn't working. Then when they're in office, their own failure to do the job proves their point."

"Your current Governor - bless her heart - is a case in point," he is to say, mischievously deploying that sweetly-delivered southern putdown.

In his speech to the South Carolina Democratic Issues Conference, O'Malley will spotlight the state's 8.7% unemployment rate; South Carolina's underwhelming high school graduation rate; Haley's refusal to accept federal money to expand Medicaid; and last year's spectacular data breach at the South Carolina Department of Revenue that left millions vulnerable to identity theft.
"How's that all working for South Carolina?," he will ask. "Facts are facts. At 8.7%, South Carolina has one of America's highest rates of unemployment. And the Tea Party still isn't hiring."

If O'Malley's speech is any indicator, Haley is certain to become a punching bag for ambitious Democrats traipsing through the state over the next few years trying to charm the party faithful. The Maryland governor is thought to have designs on the White House, and South Carolina's primary is traditionally a pivotal contest in the presidential nomination fight.

Asked about O'Malley's salvo, Haley adviser Tim Pearson said the state's unemployment rate has dropped two points since Haley took office in 2010, while it went up three points in Maryland since O'Malley took office in 2006 (though that period includes the national economic downturn that hit in 2008).

"He should go back to Maryland where he quite successfully legalized gambling, gay marriage, the end of the death penalty, and hiked taxes on everyone and everything he could think of," Pearson said of O'Malley. "And you can quote me on the record with all of that."

The pragmatism-vs.-ideology theme is one of O'Malley's favorites, and it's likely to be a centerpiece of his message if he decides to seek the presidency in 2016.

On Saturday, he plans to mention Maryland's high median income; state investments in roads, schools and clean water; and Maryland's public school system, which has been ranked number one in the nation for five straight years by Education Week.

"You and I, South Carolina and Maryland, stand at the threshold of a new era of American progress," he will say.

While O'Malley is little known outside of his own state, political insiders in Annapolis and Washington assume that the telegenic and well-connected governor is already taking steps to seek the Democratic nomination in a few year's time.

Officially, O'Malley is speaking Saturday in his capacity as finance chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, which is expected to help fund state Sen. Vincent Sheehen's re-match against Haley in next year's governor's race.

But his speech to a conference organized by the South Carolina Democratic Party will be an early indicator of his rapport with some of the state's most influential activists.

Filed under: 2016 • Martin O'Malley • Nikki Haley
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    The Democrats simply seek to become dictators in America. They want complete and total control everywhere..........and thy are doing their best to get it!

    The people and the country are going to suffer greatly under their drive to gain dictatorial control.

    March 23, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  2. notjack

    If we can read it all here before he even arrives in Charleston, why does he even bother to go.

    Like opening Christmas presents on Halloween, it sort of loses the point of the officially scheduled "event".

    Sad to say, though, O'Malley isn't alone. Pre-publication seems to be the order of the day. Some folks - politicians, celebrities, etc. - have even taken to announcing in advance what they're going to announce about what they're later going to say.

    March 23, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  3. rla

    Good for Haley!! She actually cares about the citizens and those who pay for all the "FREE" stuff O'Malley speaks of... Defeat every democrat and progressive and this country will explode in prosperity– keep electing them and we can look forward to the economic collapse of this country and all the "FREE" stuff. Don' let the dems lead from behind anymore!

    March 23, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. Ed1

    And your state is doing well under your leadership I don't think so just another blowhard.

    March 23, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  5. Donna

    I guess the governor of Maryland has nothing to do in his own state??? Aren't the people of Maryland paying him to do a job there and not traipse across the country conducting political attacks in other states? The only reason Maryland has a lower unemployment rate is because it benefits from all the jobs from our bloated and over paid federal government.

    March 23, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  6. Karen

    O'Malley is a racist and misogynist. He hates women and minorities. His attack on a female governor is unacceptable. He is a bully and hates women.

    March 23, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Aw, Comon O'Malley,
    If Maryland is doing so well why is the University of Maryland joining the Big Ten? Maybe it is for the Culurel Experence ? Or could it be Money?

    March 23, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |