CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley started his day leading the Maryland delegation in the now iconic “Fired up! Ready to go!” chant, popularized by President Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign, and giving a short speech Tuesday morning at a breakfast hosted by Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.
Tuesday was O’Malley day at the Democratic National Convention — he’s scheduled for a prime-time address, was the highlight of the delegation’s day, spoke briefly on the floor as a Rules Committee co-chairman and spoke on behalf of his home state at the Democratic Governor’s Association panel on the economy. Oh, and his rock band is playing a gig after the convention.
Maryland delegates are thrilled that their native governor has such an important role in the 2012 convention.
“We’re honored,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “I think Martin O’Malley is emerging as a great national leader.”
Shortly after breakfast, O’Malley arrived in the Google tent in uptown Charlotte to participate in the “Growing Our Economy and Investing in Infrastructure” panel featuring other notable participants, including Coca-Cola Co. President and CEO Steve Cahillane, Microsoft Vice President U.S. Public Sector Curt Kolcun and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
The group discussed the importance of spending, job creation and investment in infrastructure in growing our economy, a recurring theme in O’Malley’s comments throughout the day.
That afternoon, O’Malley helped the Maryland delegation honor Sargent Shriver, who ran on George McGovern’s 1972 ticket, at the Mint Museum in downtown Charlotte before preparing for the night’s opening convention session.
When asked what Obama needs to do in order to clinch the election win, O’Malley reverted to his stance on the importance of employment.
“Job growth will help us bring down our deficit, job growth will help us feed our children, job growth is what makes us strong as a country and allows us to educate higher and better levels of every generation,” he said.
O’Malley was modest about his not-so-modest role in the convention this week and said he was here solely to support Obama and ensure his re-election. However, political observers say O’Malley may have his eyes on the 2016 presidential race.
“I’m all about the president,” O’Malley said. “This is not the Martin O’Malley story, nor frankly, is it the Maryland story. This is about President Obama and the better choices he’s making, the choices that are moving us forward.”
Salisbury Mayor and convention delegate James Ireton echoed this sentiment.
“The governor is so squarely focused on where he’s going to take the state. He’s so squarely focused on working with congressional delegation, with president Obama, with the cabinet secretaries, on moving us forward.”
Kamenetz thinks that, although O’Malley is focused on President Obama, he has to be doing some networking this week.
“I know that Gov. O’Malley is here to support President Obama and to ensure President Obama’s re-election but at the same time I know Gov. O’Malley is going to utilize the opportunities to continue his outreach to different states and to the delegations here,” Kamenetz said. “Frankly he’s the future of our party, and why not showcase people like that. That’s very important for the national audience to get another taste of him.”