Jake Tapper Asks O’Malley If Baltimore ‘Shows that Liberal Policies Are Failing Urban America’

During an exclusive interview with former Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley on Thursday’s edition of The Lead on CNN, host Jake Tapper asked the possible presidential candidate for what he thinks of “conservatives who say, this shows that liberal policies are failing urban America.”

In addition to discussing the protests and rioting in Baltimore and what was then known about the investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, Tapper shifted from that to discussing his record as mayor in context of what’s taken place over the last week in the Charm City. 

Prior to his question, Tapper noted O’Malley’s record as mayor and governor for government spending on “public school[s], after-school programs, mentoring programs, intervention with at-risk youth, [and] drug treatment.” 

With millions of dollars spent in those categories, Tapper wondered what O’Malley thought about the belief that liberal policies are failing Americans that call inner cities home: 

What do you say to conservatives who say, this shows that liberal policies are failing urban America? Everything, this is a Democratic city in a Democratic state, everything that they want to do, they do here and look at West Baltimore. It's still horrible. 

O’Malley began his response by attempting to simultaneously touting his record as a positive while also suggesting to that “America is failing America”:

Well, what I would say to them is, beyond the – beyond the tangible progress of nation leading crime reductions, beyond the fact that we made our schools, as a state, the best in America for five years in a row, I think the real question, or the real conclusion we draw, from Baltimore, from Charleston, from Ferguson and other places is that America is failing America. 

The remainder of his response was largely derived from a belief that “[w]e are failing to live up to the sort of people that we expect ourselves to be” because “people and labor and human beings” are being treated like “they’re worthless commodities.”

To solve this problem, O’Malley ruled that this isn’t about money, but “how we approach our economy”:

You cannot create pockets of unemployment and extreme poverty without creating extremely dangerous conditions and that's what we've done in our country. It doesn't have to be this way, but we have to change how we approach our economy. It's not money. The economy is not money. It is people and right now we've told a lot of people in America that they're marginal, unheard and the results you see from that are incidents like this one that boil up with young men who feel like their country doesn't care about them, their country doesn't want to look at them, their country wishes they would go away, their country wishes they can't go away would get instead locked up and that's not the sort of country we should be building for our kids. 

(h/t: John Nolte)

The relevant portion of the transcript from CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper on April 30 can be found below.

CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper
April 30, 2015
4:28 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: O’Malley: “This Is One of Our Darkest Days”]

JAKE TAPPER: Your record as mayor and then governor includes millions more for public school, after-school programs, mentoring programs, intervention with at-risk youth, drug treatment. What do you say to conservatives who say, this shows that liberal policies are failing urban America? Everything, this is a Democratic city in a Democratic state, everything that they want to do, they do here and look at West Baltimore. It's still horrible. 

FORMER MARYLAND DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR MARTIN O’MALLEY: Well, what I would say to them is, beyond the – beyond the tangible progress of nation leading crime reductions, beyond the fact that we made our schools, as a state, the best in America for five years in a row, I think the real question, or the real conclusion we draw, from Baltimore, from Charleston, from Ferguson and other places is that America is failing America. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Exclusive; O’Malley: “America Is Failing America”]

We are failing to live up to the sort of people that we expect ourselves to be, that our grandparents expected us to be and that our kids need for us to be. You cannot create an economy that treats people and labor and human beings as if they're worthless commodities. You cannot create pockets of unemployment and extreme poverty without creating extremely dangerous conditions and that's what we've done in our country. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Exclusive; O’Malley: Baltimore Will Recover from the Riot]

It doesn't have to be this way, but we have to change how we approach our economy. It's not money. The economy is not money. It is people and right now we've told a lot of people in America that they're marginal, unheard and the results you see from that are incidents like this one that boil up with young men who feel like their country doesn't care about them, their country doesn't want to look at them, their country wishes they would go away, their country wishes they can't go away would get instead locked up and that's not the sort of country we should be building for our kids.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Crime Economy Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN The Lead Video Jake Tapper Martin O'Malley
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