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​Martin O'Malley: Presidency isn't a "crown to be passed between two families"

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) stands at the podium as former U.S. President Bill Clinton leaves the stage during the opening plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), on September 22, 2014 in New York City.

John Moore, Getty Images

Former Gov. Martin O'Malley, D-Md., wants a change in U.S. leadership come 2016, attacking presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

"I think that our country always benefits from new leadership and new perspectives," O'Malley said Sunday in an ABC News interview. "Let's be honest here, the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust that to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people."

The likely presidential candidate has told reporters that he would decide on a 2016 White House bid by the spring. But O'Malley's criticisms of Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee and Bush, the current Republican frontrunner, on national television could indicate that the former Maryland governor has already made up his mind.

"I believe that there are new perspectives that are needed in order for us to solve the problems that we face as Americans," O'Malley said. "And I believe that new perspective and new leadership is needed."

When asked if he supported Hillary Clinton as a candidate for the White House, he said he remained undecided.

"I don't know where she stands," O'Malley said. "Will she represent a break with the failed policies of the past? Well, I don't know."

In national public opinion, O'Malley trails significantly behind Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and current Vice President Joe Biden, according to a recent CBS News poll. And though a whopping 81 percent of Democrats say they would vote for Hillary Clinton as the party's nominee, two-thirds also want to see strong competition for the former secretary of state.

O'Malley wasn't the only presidential hopeful to take aim at the Washington elite.

The first officially declared Republican candidate for president, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz appeared Sunday to address perceived opposition to his candidacy among Beltway insiders.

"In the presidential race in 2016, there may be other candidates who choose to throw rocks my direction," Cruz told CNN. "I'm not going to engage in the personal mudslinging, in the negative attacks on people's character."

Instead, the Republican lawmaker took to criticizing the other party's politics. He blamed the Democrats for the 2013 Obamacare budget standstill, where Cruz made a national name for himself during his 13-hour long faux filibuster on the Senate floor.

"I think it was a mistake when Harry Reid and the Democrats forced a shutdown," Cruz said, using it as a defense of his own sparse legislative record.

"The two pieces of legislation that passed the Senate are more than all but a handful of Republicans in the last two years," Cruz said, "and that was despite Senate Democrats basically shutting the Senate down so that almost nothing could pass."

And whereas the Bush vs. Clinton battle for the White House seems to be an election America has seen before, Cruz's entry into the presidential race also has parallels. The Texas Republican has been likened to President Barack Obama, who was also a novice senator before his launch onto the national stage.

"I think there are really two sharp distinctions between where I am today and where Barack Obama was when he launched his campaign," Cruz said, addressing the comparison. "[I]n his time in the Senate he had basically been a back-bencher. He had not been leading on issues of any significance. In my time in the Senate you can accuse me of being a lot of things but a back-bencher is not one of them."