LOS ANGELES (AP) — Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley introduced himself to California Democrats Saturday with a scathing indictment of the tea party and a call for a stronger middle class to move the country forward.
The potential 2016 White House candidate, speaking to hundreds of Democratic delegates at a party convention in Los Angeles, said he's weary of the cynicism and government-by-obstruction that frequently stalls work on Capitol Hill.
He singled out tea party Republicans for espousing "a small view" of America that he compared to the "trickle-down economics" of the Reagan era.
"We call it selling America short," said O'Malley, who received a standing ovation after the speech.
"How much less do we believe would be good for the country?" he asked. "How much less education would make our children smarter?
"We will not solve our problems, my friends, by doing less. We must do more."
The Democratic governor has said he's considering entering the 2016 contest. Early polls have shown Democrats favoring a run by Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has not said if she will enter the race. She carried California in the 2008 presidential primary.
For Democrats, O'Malley said "it's about jobs. It's about a stronger middle class."
O'Malley pointed to his own state as a blueprint for success. Maryland had put a freeze on college tuition for four consecutive years, had the fastest rate of job growth in the region and was going to boost the minimum wage, he said.
"These things do not happen by chance. They happen by choice," O'Malley said.
States "are all going to the same place" and must work to together for progress, he said.
"We will rise or we will fall together," the governor said. "We cannot allow ourselves to become the first generation of Americans to give our children a country of less."
"Enough finger-pointing. Enough obstruction," O'Malley added.