O’Malley challenges Clinton to speak at Iowa State Fair
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley took several implied swipes at Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP lawmaker defends Chelsea Clinton after confrontation over New Zealand attacks Klobuchar: Race, gender should not be litmus tests for 2020 Dem nominee Kirsten Gillibrand officially announces White House run MORE on Thursday, challenging the front-runner to make her case for the nomination from the soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.

A sweaty and upbeat O’Malley stood on The Des Moines Register soapbox, making his case for the White House while challenging the other Democratic contenders to do the same.

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All of the Democratic candidates except Clinton are so far booked to speak at the outdoor gathering, which has also attracted many of the Republican presidential contenders.

“There are many candidates for president in our party who will stand before you — maybe some of them might even come to the soapbox — they will make progressive promises,” O’Malley said. 

“But I’m the only candidate in our party who will look you in the eye and tell you that in 15 years of executive experience as a big city mayor and governor, I have brought people together to make progressive accomplishments and get things done,” he said.

The Des Moines Register reports that Clinton has been invited to speak at the event, but has so far not accepted. Clinton will begin a two-day swing through Iowa on Friday.

“I know that you want to meet each of the candidates once or twice or three or four or five times before you make your decision, and you expect all of your candidates to do question-and-answer,” said O’Malley. “Otherwise, it doesn’t make any sense to offer your candidacy for president.”

O’Malley has rarely criticized Clinton directly, but frequently takes indirect shots at her through implied or veiled critiques.

In the question-and-answer session following his address, O’Malley sought to frame himself as a next-generation candidate for the party.

“The Democratic Party has a gravitational pull toward the future,” O’Malley said. “That choice usually narrows down to the inevitable front-runner — who is inevitable right up until the first contest — and the voice of a new generation that most of the country had not heard of before.”

Clinton finished third in the Iowa caucuses in 2008, which severely damaged her bid for the Democratic nomination.

“So I have been in 25 of the 99 of your beautiful counties, and I intend to go to the rest of them before this campaign is over, and that is our theme,” O’Malley continued. “It’s about new leadership, it’s about a new generational perspective.”