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Martin O'Malley hits Donald Trump's 'American nightmare'

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley addresses the Democratic National Convention Wednesday. (CSPAN video)

PHILADELPHIA — Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, appearing on a national stage for the first time in months, delivered a blistering attack Wednesday on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the Democratic convention.

O'Malley, who ended his presidential campaign in February after finishing a distant third in Iowa, said Democrat Hillary Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, were "as tough as they come," and then pivoted to Trump.

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"I say to hell with Trump's American nightmare. We believe in the American Dream," O'Malley said in shirtsleeves from the stage of the Wells Fargo Center. "Anger never fed a hungry child, did it? Anger never protected a family's home or sent a kid to college. Anger never built a great republic."

O'Malley, 53, has largely avoided public appearances and interviews since dropping out of the presidential contest. He waited until mid-June to endorse Clinton, after all states had voted and well after it was clear she would secure the nomination.

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But the Baltimore resident appears to be re-emerging at the Democratic National Convention. In addition to his address here, he was recognized by fellow Maryland Democrats during a reception Monday and is expected to address the delegations from the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

O'Malley hit many of the themes he raised during his campaign. He argued that Clinton's positions on climate change, wage inequality and reducing student debt were consistent with the progressive wing of the party. He recycled a line about immigration from his own stump speech, saying Clinton understood that the "enduring symbol of America" was not a "barbed-wire fence" but rather the "the Statue of Liberty."

"We believe, as Hillary Clinton believes, that no American family who works hard should have to raise their children in poverty," he said.

O'Malley struggled in his past two appearances on the convention stage, including in 2012 when his effort to get the crowd to parrot the line "forward, not back" was drowned out by residual applause from an earlier speaker.

Though his campaign never gained traction, O'Malley did win respect from some fellow Democrats for running an issues-based campaign and releasing detailed policy proposals.

"She will stand up to ISIS, she will stand up to the Russians and with Tim Kaine at her side she will never stop fighting for our children and our families, Hillary Clinton knows when our families are strong, America is strong," he said.

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