October 11th, 2015
01:53 PM ET

Gov. Martin O'Malley against a no-fly in Syria: "Secretary Clinton is always quick for the military intervention."

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic presidential candidate and former Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) joined chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS
O’Malley’s stance on a “no-fly zone” in Syria: [O'MALLEY]:  Secretary Clinton is always quick for the military intervention.  I believe that a no-fly zone right now is - is not advisable.  And this is why.  No-fly zones sound attractive, but no-fly zones also have to be enforced.  And given the fact that the Russian air force is in the airspace over - over Syria, this could lead to an escalation of Cold War proportions, because of an accident. And I don't think that's in the best interests of the United States.  There are many fights in this world.  Not every fight is our fight.  We have to stay engaged there.  We have to push back against ISIS.  We have to push up the diplomatic pressure to get Russia to focus on ISIS.  But I don't believe a no-fly zone is advisable.

O’Malley’s remarks on Secretary Clinton’s recent gun proposal: [BASH]: Hillary Clinton laid out a gun proposal this week where she said, among other things, that there should be executive action, that the president - and if she were president, she would act in a way that Congress just hasn't been able to.  Did that go far enough?  [O'MALLEY]:  Well, I was - when I was governor of Maryland, after the slaughter of the innocent in Newtown, Connecticut, we passed comprehensive gun safety legislation.  I put forward a plan for what our nation needs to do. And one piece of that, which I put forward, I think, two months ago, is that we need to use our procurement, our buying power as a federal government, to insist on the highest and best standards for manufacturers for safety technology, the micro-stamping of the bullets when they're fired, so they can be traced back to the gun, serial numbers that can't be effaced.  That's part of four things we need to do, background checks with fingerprints and licensing, something we did in Maryland, banning assault weapons, something we did in Maryland, and also a ban on - and also taking the handcuffs off our own law enforcement agencies and making the trafficking in illegal guns a federal crime.

FULL TRANSCRIPT
DANA BASH, chief political correspondent: Democrats are just two days away from the CNN debate.  And they find themselves intrigued by a 74-year-old self-described socialist senator, who is climbing his way up the early state primary polls with progressive talk that is really exciting the base.  And it's a surprise to a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters, who thought that the man sitting next to me would be the progressive threat.  He's former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley.  And he's joining me live.  Thank you so much for coming in.
MARTIN O'MALLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you.
BASH:  I want to start with what we reported this morning, Jake Tapper's interview with Bradley Podliska, the former - now former investigator on the Benghazi Committee.
O'MALLEY:  Right.
BASH:  How do you think this plays out?  Do you think that this proves what Hillary Clinton has said, that this is simply a partisan exercise?
O'MALLEY:  Well, I think it certainly underscores that much of this Benghazi investigation is a partisan exercise.
I think we're missing, though, some of the larger lessons of Benghazi, the most important one being this, that we have not, as a nation, made the investments in human intelligence on the ground in these countries that are so unstable and on the verge of nation-state failure, so that we can understand who the new leaders are that are emerging leaders when a dictator's time on this planet comes to an end.
I believe that's what Ambassador Stevens was trying to do.  But he didn't have the tools, and we have not invested as a nation in the intelligence, human intelligence, on-the-ground intelligence, necessary to identify the next generation of leaders.
BASH:  And what this, I guess this now whistle-blower is saying is that the committee turned too much to focus on e-mails.  You have said that the e-mail issue is an issue for Hillary Clinton.  Does it need to be investigated?
O'MALLEY:  Well, I think there - I think there are a couple of separate - I they may well be connected, but I think they're two separate issues.
I don't believe - I don't believe that the manufactured aspects of the Benghazi investigations are what they initially purported to be.  The e-mail matter and whether or not the secretary violated rules, regulations, laws on having a private server, that is up to her and her campaign and her lawyers to answer.  And that's an FBI investigation that will take a different course.
BASH:  Let's talk about the debate coming up on Tuesday.  You are way behind in the early states, in single digits in most polls.  You know, before the campaign, as I mentioned, you were the guy who everybody thought, and, more importantly, Hillary Clinton and her campaign thought that they were going to have to worry most about.
And it turned to Bernie Sanders.  How are you going to turn it back on Tuesday night?
O'MALLEY:  Well, as long as all of us have been engaged in this - and when I say - I mean those of us who are candidates and those of you that follow the candidates - it seems this campaign has been going on for a long time.  But for the vast majority of Americans, who are searching for a new leader who will move us out of these rather divided and self-defeating times of gridlock and inaction, this race is really just beginning for the Democratic Party.  By this time eight years ago, we had had nine debates.  Now we're going to have our very first debate on Tuesday.
BASH:  And how are you going to use that to kind of show America, show Democratic primary voters that you are the alternative to Hillary Clinton?
O'MALLEY:  I'm going lay out the vision, and not only the vision for the better future we want for our kids, where wages are going up, where opportunities are expanding, but also 15 years of executive experience, which I alone will have on that stage, of actually accomplishing progressive things.
It's not about the words.  It's about the actions, things we did in Maryland to pull together new consensus after new consensus to pass a living wage, to pass comprehensive safety legislation, to pass the DREAM Act and marriage equality.  It's about the doing, not the saying.
BASH:  But let's talk about a couple of the issues that you would have to deal with if you were the chief executive of the country.  A no-fly zone in Syria, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have actually split on that issue.  Hillary Clinton is actually with Senator McCain.  She supports a no-fly zone.  Bernie Sanders is with President Obama and opposes it.  Where are you?
O'MALLEY:  Secretary Clinton is always quick for the military intervention.
I believe that a no-fly zone right now is - is not advisable.  And this is why.  No-fly zones sound attractive, but no-fly zones also have to be enforced.  And given the fact that the Russian air force is in the airspace over - over Syria, this could lead to an escalation of Cold War proportions, because of an accident.
And I don't think that's in the best interests of the United States.  There are many fights in this world.  Not every fight is our fight.  We have to stay engaged there.  We have to push back against ISIS.  We have to push up the diplomatic pressure to get Russia to focus on ISIS.  But I don't believe a no-fly zone is advisable.
BASH:  You mentioned guns.  Hillary Clinton laid out a gun proposal this week where she said, among other things, that there should be executive action, that the president - and if she were president, she would act in a way that Congress just hasn't been able to.  Did that go far enough?
O'MALLEY:  Well, I was - when I was governor of Maryland, after the slaughter of the innocent in Newtown, Connecticut, we passed comprehensive gun safety legislation.  I put forward a plan for what our nation needs to do.
And one piece of that, which I put forward, I think, two months ago, is that we need to use our procurement, our buying power as a federal government, to insist on the highest and best standards for manufacturers for safety technology, the micro-stamping of the bullets when they're fired, so they can be traced back to the gun, serial numbers that can't be effaced.
That's part of four things we need to do, background checks with fingerprints and licensing, something we did in Maryland, banning assault weapons, something we did in Maryland, and also a ban on - and also taking the handcuffs off our own law enforcement agencies and making the trafficking in illegal guns a federal crime.
We bury more Americans from gun deaths than virtually - than any other developed nation on the planet.  It's about leadership, though, Dana.  It's not about making the speeches.  It's about being able to pull together the consensus, stare down the NRA, and get it done.  That's something I have done.  And that's something we need to do as a nation.
BASH:  You mentioned leadership.
Hillary Clinton has shifted left on several policy issues over the past couple of weeks and months.  The biggest was this past week on a pretty big trade deal that she had once called the gold standard.  She seems to be moving...
O'MALLEY:  And that she had worked for and was probably an architect of.
BASH:  So, she does seem to be moving in your direction, though, politically.  What do you make of that?
O'MALLEY:  Oh, we're already affecting the debate.  We have got them right where we want them, don't we?
BASH:  But what do you think this says about her and her chances and her sort of viability?
O'MALLEY:  Let me tell you, for my part, that I was against the Trans-Pacific Partnership eight months ago, because I believe it's bad for the country.
Thomas Jefferson once said that, in matters of fashion, one should swim with the current, but, on matters of principle, one should stand like a rock.  I believe that we need to stop stumbling backwards into these bad trade deals that offshore American jobs and American profits.
We need to build up our own industries in the United States, yes, engage in trade, but not at the expense of keeping our eye on the ball, which is more jobs here, a stronger middle class here, wages that go up, rather than down.
And what we saw from NAFTA was that, when you do these trade deals, it opens up the floodgates, and multinational corporations chase cheap labor abroad, use these trade deals to evade environmental protections and standards for workers.  That doesn't help the United States here at home.  I'm opposed to it, have been for a long time.  I didn't shift positions right on the eve of the first Democratic debate.
BASH:  Speaking of that, very quickly, any pre-debate rituals that you engage in, special tie, special socks?
O'MALLEY:  More sleep, I hope.
(LAUGHTER)
O'MALLEY:  We have been going at it pretty hard.  I have spent a lot of time in Iowa.
We're gaining traction every day, was endorsed by 13 county chairs in Iowa, and continue to go to New Hampshire.  The great news about this presidential process is, in the early states, it's still very much an intimate, one-on-one...
BASH:  It is.
O'MALLEY:  ... exercise, and every individual matters.
BASH:  Well, I'm sorry to tell you, but I don't think it's going to be very intimate on Tuesday night, but we're very much looking forward to it.
Appreciate it.
O'MALLEY:  So am I.
BASH:  Governor, thank you.
O'MALLEY:  At last.  Hope we have more of them.
(LAUGHTER)
BASH:  Yes, I'm sure you do.  Governor, I know you do.
Thank you very much.

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
###END INTERVIEW###

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