Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley may not have the foreign policy résumé of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but he made a successful bid for the hearts of Iowa voters by responding to a question about his fitness as commander-in-chief with the personal story of an Iowa mother.
When CBS host John Dickerson asked O'Malley how, as a former governor with little foreign policy experience to speak of, he planned to serve as the head of America's armed forces in an era of international terrorism, he cited an anecdotal exchange with the mother of a young man serving overseas.
"I wanted to add one other thing, John, and I think it's important for all of us on this stage," O'Malley responded. "I was in Burlington, Iowa, and a mom of a service member of ours who has served two duties in Iraq said, 'Governor O'Malley, please, when you're with your other candidates and colleagues onstage, please don't use the term 'boots on the ground' ... My son is not a pair of boots on the ground.'"
"These are American soldiers," O'Malley continued. "And we fail them when we fail to take into account what happens the day after a dictator falls, and we fail to act with a whole-of-government approach with sustainable development, diplomacy and our economic power in alignment with our principles."
Correction: Nov. 14, 2015
A previous version of this story misquoted Martin O'Malley. The accurate quote is: "My son is not a pair of boots on the ground."