BOULDER, Colo. — Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley turned up in Boulder on Wednesday, and took the GOP candidates to task for lack of sound economic plans.
In an interview with CNBC, O'Malley said he believed there's not a single realistic economic policy among the GOP presidential hopefuls.
As the GOP candidates prepared to take the stage at the third Republican debate later Wednesday, the former Maryland governor came to the University of Colorado to rally with activists supporting stronger gun regulations.
While speaking with CNBC on campus, O'Malley said he would be listening intently Wednesday night for a glimmer of economic plans that do not rely on trickle-down economics.
"I haven't heard any so far," O'Malley said when asked if he thought any Republican candidates had viable plans for the economy. "I've heard a lot of doubling down on trickle-down economics, and I think what the people of our country are looking for are the ideas that get wages to go up and not down."
Still, the Democratic hopeful — who is consistently polling in third place behind Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — said he thinks that conservative politicians could be positioned to offer policies that he thinks are adequate.
"In the Republican Party, there's actually a lot of room for a candidate to emerge and instead of spewing hate and bashing immigrants and saying cruddy things about women — I think if a couple of these candidates actually offered the ideas that would make incomes go up and wages go up as a country ... I think they'd see a lot of Republicans in their own party rallying to them."
He said "you never know" who in the GOP field could propose those economic plans, declining to name a candidate he thinks may offer the most progressive policy.
In a speech on campus, O'Malley accused his Democratic opponents of "bickering," Republicans of being spineless, and said he's the only one focusing on the "life or death" issue of gun violence.
Recalling Colorado's history of mass gun violence, including the 2012 Aurora movie massacre, O'Malley said he'd come to the site of the GOP debate in search of the "elusive being" of a "Republican candidate with the backbone to take on the NRA."
O'Malley also sought to distinguish himself from his two Democratic opponents.
"(Clinton and Sanders) are sniping and bickering back and forth about who's shouting and who's not, who's sexist and who's not, and it's distracting from the life and death importance of this issue," O'Malley said of gun control.
The former Maryland governor was joined at the podium by family members of mass-shooting victims. They recalled Aurora, Columbine, and Sandy Hook, and several said they intended to vote for O'Malley.