US POLITICS

Democratic Debate: Twitter Skewers Sinking Martin O’Malley

As the competition between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders heats up, O'Malley feels more and more like a third wheel

US POLITICS
"Please, sir, can I have some more?" — REUTERS
Jan 18, 2016 at 7:26 AM ET

Poor Martin O’Malley.

The former Maryland governor—already trailing far behind his two rivals—took a ruthless beating by the denizens of Twitter during Sunday night’s Democratic debate as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton traded barbs over issues ranging from gun control to Wall Street. Now neck-and-neck in Iowa and New Hampshire, the two frontrunners ratcheted up their attacks against one another and clearly articulated their competing visions for the country. After two hours, neither Clinton nor Sanders stepped away from their podiums in Charleston, South Carolina with a memorable gaffe or stumble.

O’Malley was not so lucky. Appearing more and more like a squeaky third wheel as the evening wore on, he found himself marginalized, literally and figuratively. From the side of the stage, O’Malley was skipped for full exchanges, sometimes interrupting Clinton or Sanders, seemingly just to get a word in. At one point, he outright begged debate moderator Lester Holt for more air time—igniting a powder keg of social media mockery.

“Lester, just 10 seconds. Just 10 seconds. All of the things …” O’Malley was heard saying as Holt prepared to cut for a commercial break early on in the evening. Holt ignored him and went to commercial anyway, not giving O’Malley a chance to weigh in. Before the microphones went out, Clinton let loose a quick cackle.

From there, the floodgates opened:

Later in the evening, O’Malley added a final flourish to his presidential flameout when he, once again, begged Holt for more time to talk.

The social media response was akin to kicking a man while he was already down:

The most recent NBC poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders nationally with 59 percent to Sanders 34. Martin O’Malley trails Sanders… with 2 percent.