POLITICS
03/24/2013 08:14 pm ET

Martin O'Malley Hits Nikki Haley At South Carolina Democratic Party Conference

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) addressed the South Carolina Democratic Party Conference on Saturday, taking a harsh jab at the Palmetto State's Republican governor Nikki Haley during his speech in Charleston.

"Now, some of these new tea party Republican governors are funny in this regard, aren’t they?” O'Malley said, according to the Washington Post. "They run on a platform claiming government isn’t working. Then when they’re in office, their own failure to do the job proves their point. Your current governor -- bless her heart -- is a case in point."

According to O'Malley's prepared remarks, the Democratic governor criticized Haley on a number of policies, including her support for a controversial voter ID law and her refusal to expand Medicaid in South Carolina under President Obama's health care reform law.

"Once again, ideology trumps practical reality," O'Malley said.

O'Malley, who was elected as governor in 2006, is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party and a likely contender for the 2016 presidential nomination. Saturday's speech in South Carolina, an early primary state, added fuel to speculation that O'Malley is eyeing the White House.

"He should go back to Maryland where he quite successfully legalized gambling, gay marriage, the end of the death penalty, and hiked taxes on everyone and everything he could think of," Haley adviser Tim Pearson told CNN in response to O'Malley's remarks.

Haley isn't the first GOP governor to face tough criticism from O'Malley. Last month, the Democrat took a shot at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), dismissing the portrayal of Christie as an innovator in his state.

“What innovations?” O'Malley said.

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