JERUSALEM (AP) - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a rising star in Democratic politics, said Wednesday that he is considering making a run for the White House in 2016 and will likely make a decision later this year.
O'Malley, in Jerusalem on a Mideast tour, said he was still undecided but intends to dedicate "reflection time" on whether to seek the Democratic nomination.
"I plan for the latter half of this year to dedicate some more thought time - reflection time - to the question of whether or not I would run in 2016," O'Malley, a former mayor of Baltimore, told reporters.
"The key question in running for any office is having a clear and refined understanding of the shared reality we face," he said. "I arrived at that freedom and that clarity when I ran for mayor and when I ran for governor, and the interior challenge is whether or not I can arrive at that clarity, and that freedom and that sense of responsibility and urgency with regard to making a run in 2016."
O'Malley, 50, is frequently touted as a potential presidential candidate, along with former Secretary of State and U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He is favored by Democrats who want the party to look to younger candidates, noting that Clinton will turn 69 shortly before Election Day 2016, and Biden will turn 74 soon after.
President Barack Obama, a Democrat, cannot run because U.S. presidents are limited to two four-year terms.
O'Malley has successfully promoted a progressive agenda that includes legalizing same-sex marriage, introducing some of the U.S.'s toughest gun control laws, repealing capital punishment, and enabling some students who are not in the country legally to pay in-state tuition, seen as an important part of immigration reform.
O'Malley is on an eight-day tour of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories with a delegation of Maryland officials. He is meeting Israel's President Shimon Peres, high-ranking Israeli politicians and the outgoing Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad.
During his visit, he also intends to visit the traditional birthplace of Jesus, the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, to attend Sunday Mass.
This is O'Malley's third visit to Israel.