The Obvious Question of Martin O'Malley Matthews Should Have Asked But Didn't

November 3rd, 2015 9:34 PM

Tomorrow marks one year to the day when Larry Hogan soundly defeated Martin O'Malley protege Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in the Maryland gubernatorial contest. Yet with O'Malley in the interview chair on the November 3 edition of Hardball, host Chris Matthews failed to ask him how this embarrassing defeat -- and Gov. Hogan's healthy job-approval ratings to this day -- might be a signal to his fellow Democrats that he's a solid pick for leading their party forward.

The interview as a whole proved a friendly platform for the former governor of the Old Line State to peddle his talking points to a national audience without any real pushback. It's impossible to say for certain, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility that Matthews treated his interview subject with kid gloves in no small part because O'Malley's endorsement and donor base could be of immense value to his wife Kathleen, running as a Democrat for an open House seat in Montgomery County, Md. 

Here's the transcript of the interview:

Nov. 3, 2015; 7:28 p.m. Eastern; 3 minutes, 40 seconds

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, it's an uphill climb for O'Malley who joins me now from Manchester, New Hampshire, as we mark the one-year countdown ‘til the 2016 presidential election.*

Governor, let's talk about the issue of gun safety. And for Democrats, it's always been a little tricky. They've been afraid of losing states, western states, especially. Why now? You out there in Colorado, that shows a lot of, I think, courage.

Former Gov. MARTIN O’MALLEY (D-Md.): Well, Colorado, before it was the host of the latest Republican debate, Chris, was also the place where the massacre happened at Columbine, where the massacre happened at that theater in Aurora. I think growing numbers of us as Americans are realizing that we have a problem, the likes of which no other developed nation on the planet has.

I mean, the numbers of people that we bury, the number of Americans that we bury because of guns and gun violence is, is appalling. I mean, there's not another developed nation on the planet that has this problem.

In our own state of Maryland, we passed comprehensive gun safety legislation, it had universal background checks, the requirement of licensing for new purchases. And it also banned the sale of combat assault weapons. And yet, we managed to preserve all of the fine hunting traditions of our rural areas.

So, look, this is not a matter of either/or. We can, we can make sure that we actually have common sense gun-safety legislations, reduce the carnage without impeding people's abilities to hunt and enjoy their sporting uh rights and traditions and I think we can do both.

MATTHEWS: Well, let's talk about the campaign for president. Where would you -- to somebody coming new to the campaign, and everybody, as you know, is not paying attention yet, you’ve got Bernie Sanders, who's a lifelong socialist and says he's a socialist. Hillary Clinton, who had been identifying with her husband, the sort of the DLC, the moderate Democrats. Where are you in that spectrum, if you don't mind, somewhere? Where are you? Between Bernie and Hillary? Are you between them or are you around them?

O’MALLEY:  I think I'm forward of them. I'm forward of both of them. I represent a different generation of leadership and a newer generation of leadership, Chris.

That means I often times arrive at issues before they do. And it means on issues of like immigration or whether it's gun safety, I am, I find myself much more further in front of them than they are on these things.

I mean, listening to Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton talk about immigration, that's like the greatest hits of the '80s and '90s. If you talk to young people in our country, they think we've all bumped our heads, that we don't have the ability for people that have been living here for years, whose only country they know of  is the United States, for them to not be able to gain full citizenship rights and play by the rules and be a part of this open economy. Uh, also on other issues like climate change, this isn't a matter of following polls, it's a matter of following principles in the best interests of our nation and the needs of this planet for a clean, 100 percent green, electric energy future.

So, these are the ideas I’m going to continue to talk to. And I feel like the Democratic race really only just began with that very first debate. And immediately on its heels, two of the contenders dropped out and Vice President Biden, for whom I have a tremendous amount of affection, decided not to enter this race.

So in the next debate, there'll be three of us. And I'm the only candidate on that stage who can point to 15 years of leading with principle, accomplishing progressive things, and bringing people together to get things done. That's what you learn to do as an executive. And that's something neither of them has, can point to.

MATTHEWS: Well, you'll be on this Friday night with Rachel here on MSNBC, on her candidate's night. And I hope to have you back again soon. And I agree with you. For most Americans, they’re just getting into this thing. Martin O'Malley, governor of Maryland for years.

*In point of fact, Sunday will one year to the day before the 2016 general election, which falls on November 8.