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Is Martin O'Malley's new super PAC a jab at Hillary Clinton?

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, like most of his declared or potential rivals for the presidency in 2016, now has a super PAC.

With O'Malley expected to declare his presidential bid in Baltimore on Saturday, some of his allies are forming the group, Generation Forward, to boost his chances of taking out Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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The group's name recalls President Obama's 2012 campaign slogan: "Forward." But it's also a nod to the younger voters O'Malley hopes to court as he positions himself as a progressive alternative to Clinton.

"We don't necessarily think Hillary Clinton will have trouble appealing to younger voters, but we do think that Martin O'Malley appeals best to younger voters," Generation Forward communications director Ron Boehmer told CBS News. He cited O'Malley's "policies, his record in Maryland - everything from supporting same sex marriage early on to holding down the cost of college tuition."

"Millenials today are looking for new leadership and new opportunities to grow," Boehmer added. "They're one of the largest voting blocs in this country, and they're very underrepresented. We believe that a new type of leadership is needed to speak to millennials and act on their behalf."

At 52, O'Malley will become the youngest candidate in the Democratic primary when he formally launches his bid. Clinton is 67 and Bernie Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont who's seeking the Democratic nod, is 73.

The group's website, without naming Clinton specifically, lays out its generational pitch in slightly punchier terms. "We need to campaign for our future and scare away the dark politics of yesterday, to place the national interest ahead of the special interests, and to believe in our future," explains the "About Us" section of the site. "We cannot choose to go back to the politics of the twentieth century. We need new leadership for the twenty-first century."

Boehmer suggested the group is hoping to move beyond a traditional super PAC media strategy that relies heavily on paid television ads. "We're planning an outreach strategy that's more than just advertising and media," he said. "We're going to do some field organizing, some outreach to colleges in Iowa, New Hampshire, and other early voting states."

Super PACs are barred by federal law from any formal coordination with a campaign, but they are permitted to engage in a broad range of activities to boost a candidate or a cause.

Hillary Clinton has several super PACs supporting her bid, and most of the declared or potential Republican candidates are set to receive a backing from outside groups as well.

The proliferation of super PACs this cycle, with some of them undertaking infrastructure and rapid-response duties traditionally performed by a campaign itself, underscores just how dramatically the campaign finance game has changed since the Supreme Court loosened limits on political spending in the 2010 Citizens United case.


During a campaign visit to New Hampshire last month, according to the Washington Post, O'Malley expressed some concern about the growing role of outside groups in campaigns.

"I would hope that in the Democratic Party that all of our candidates might discourage super PACs from being involved," O'Malley said. He added that his team is examining "how we can put forward a campaign of principle and substance, a campaign that acknowledges what's wrong with our [financing] system, and yet be able to compete."

National primary polls currently show O'Malley in the low single digits, but that may be because many voters simply haven't heard much about him: only 11 percent of Democrats told CBS News earlier this month that they'd consider voting for him. Seventeen percent said they would not consider it, and 72 percent said they don't know enough to say.

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