This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

If the Democratic Presidential primary was conducted today, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley wouldn't win. He wouldn't even come in second place. On a recent CNN/ORC poll, 1 percent of Democratic respondents said O'Malley was their choice for the nomination. The poll choice "someone else," even beat O'Malley, with 6 percent.

"The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families," O'Malley said .

But there's hope at this very early stage for O'Malley, because a majority of Democratic voters don't know who he is. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is near universally known. What O'Malley needs is an introduction: a chance to let Democrats around the country know there's an alternative to Clinton. And to do that, he's going to need to take Clinton on directly. He made that move clear Sunday morning, on an appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

"The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families," O'Malley said on the program. Stephanopoulos had posed the question, "You're ready to challenge her, aren't you?"

O'Malley said his current low poll numbers don't faze him. "History is full of times when the inevitable front-runner is inevitable right up until he or she is no longer inevitable," he said. Again, it's a not so thinly veiled jab at Clinton. "I believe what people want, especially this year, is someone with proven executive experience: The ability to get things done, rather than putting their finger in the wind and looking for popularity."

Up until now, O'Malley has been shy to call out Clinton directly in interviews. "You surprised me," Stephanopoulos said. "I wasn't expecting you to be this direct in taking on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."

To that, O'Malley responded with a comment that sounded like the beginnings of a stump speech. "It's not about being or against any other candidate," he said. "It's about being for the national interests."

O'Malley's candidacy now seems imminent. "I'm going to make a decision this spring," he said.

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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