Democratic Debate: Maybe Martin O’Malley Isn’t Just Running to Be Clinton’s Veep

If O’Malley is staying in the race to get her attention, he may want to tone it down in debates

Looking at Martin O’Malley’s low poll numbers, you might suspect that the ex-Maryland governor is only running for president for the same reason Peter Florick did on “The Good Wife”: So Hillary Clinton will pick him as her vice presidential nominee.

But if O’Malley is only in the race to be Clinton’s running mate, he didn’t act like it during Sunday’s Democratic debate. He went after the former secretary of state repeatedly, saying her gun control policy is “inconsistent” and that she has a “cozy relationship with Wall Street.”

The best way he could help Clinton would be to go after Sen. Bernie Sanders, who poses a threat to her chances in Iowa and New Hampshire. But O’Malley didn’t play favorites between his opponents.

“I’ve listened to Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders go back and forth on which of them has the most inconsistent record on gun safety legislation and I would have to agree with both of them,” O’Malley said at one point. “They’ve both been inconsistent when it comes to this issue.”

Later, he accused Clinton of having a “cozy relationship” with Wall Street, echoing an attack he also made last month.

He also noted that as a former mayor and governor, he was the only one to have balanced a budget. (Sanders objected, noting that he had been a mayor, too.)

O’Malley did one thing right, if he wants to be veep: He didn’t deliver any soundbites that a Republican opponent could use in an attack ad against Clinton in the general election, if Clinton were to choose him as her running mate.

Of course, it’s possible that O’Malley may believe Sanders has a legitimate chance, and might want to be Sanders’ veep.

Or, the wildest theory of all: Martin O’Malley may be running for president… because he wants to be president.