Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who is considering entering the 2016 presidential race, took some shots at Hillary Clinton before his speech at the Harvard Institute of Politics on Thursday evening.
Clinton, who launched her White House bid last Sunday and is the Democratic frontrunner, has seemingly modified her past positions on giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and same-sex marriage in recent days. O’Malley said he is pleased with Clinton’s current positions, but he suggested she has modified them based on “polls.”
“I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues,” he said, adding, “I believe that we are best as a party when we lead with our principles and not according to the polls. And every election is about the future. And leadership is about making the right decision, and the best decision before sometimes it becomes entirely popular.”
In her 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton initially expressed support for a plan in New York that would have given driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. After some backlash, she subsequently indicated she opposed providing licenses to undocumented immigrants. However, this week, Clinton said she currently supports giving licenses to immigrants who are in the country illegally.
On gay marriage, as recently as 2014, Clinton said individual states should decide whether to allow same-sex couples to get married. But in an interview this week Clinton was asked about the coming Supreme Court case on gay marriage. She said she hopes the Supreme Court’s ruling will legalise gay marriage nationwide.
The Clinton campaign maintains she has not shifted her positions on either issue. In a statement to Business Insider on Thursday, a Clinton aide said President Barack Obama’s recent executive order on immigration has changed the “landscape” and led to different “policy responses.” The aide also said Clinton has consistently supported same-sex marriage.
In his comments at Harvard, O’Malley also stressed his support for same-sex marriage and for giving undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses.
“I’m glad Secretary Clinton has come around to the right positions on both these issues. I believe marriage is a human right, not a state right. I’m glad she’s come around to that position as well,” he said, adding, “I believe that we do our country a disservice when we make it harder for new American immigrants to abide by the rules of the road and obtain drivers licenses. And I’m glad she’s come around to that position now too.”
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