Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) says he’s can’t wait for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton takes swipe at 'false equivalency' in media coverage of 2016 election Former presidents, first ladies come together to honor Barbara Bush Romney: Parts of Comey book read 'too much like a novel’ MORE to decide on a 2016 presidential run, and so he has already begun exploring a potential White House bid of his own.

In an interview published over the weekend by The Washington Post, O’Malley made his presidential ambitions the clearest he has so far.  

He said, for example, he’s holding meetings with experts in domestic and foreign policy in an effort to build a campaign’s foundation.

“I have a great deal of respect for Hillary Clinton,” O’Malley told the Post. “But for my own part, I have a responsibility to prepare and to address the things that I feel a responsibility to address. . . .To squander this important period of preparation because of horse-race concerns and handicapping concerns is just not a very productive use of energy. . . . Right now, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing — the thought work and the preparation work.” 

Close associates to O’Malley told the Post, however, that if Clinton runs, O’Malley likely won’t.

Three weeks ago, O’Malley appeared on CNN and said he wasn’t ready to make a decision. The Democrat declined to present a timeline of when he would, but admitted he had been thinking about it.

“It’s an honor to even be mentioned in the company of those that might lead our country forward after President Obama, and right now I’m focused on the work at hand and the work of this general assembly session in Maryland,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Jan. 12.

On Friday, O’Malley announced his political action committee, O’ Say Can You See, raised nearly $1.7 million last year.

Despite the financial success and the preparation, the governor told the Post nothing substantial will happen this year if he winds up pursuing the nomination.

“This is not the year for rolling out yard signs or bumper stickers,” O’Malley said. “I’m meeting with people in ways that never really make the paper, and shouldn’t — people that have experience in foreign affairs and foreign policy and national security, all of which is part of a continuing education and refinement of my beliefs and thoughts about how to govern ourselves as a people.”

Clinton, meanwhile, has been leading the other potential Democratic candidates in numerous polls recently. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released last week said she led her possible challengers by a six-to-one margin. 

Clinton received 73 percent of support, while Vice President Biden came in second with 12 percent support and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) came in third with 8 percent.