In 2008, Barack Obama delivered a speech in Philadelphia that discussed, in personal terms, his race. Now, in the final years of his presidency, it’s hard to argue race relations in this country are in a better place.

Protests ensued after police killed unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, and North Charleston, South Carolina. But does last night’s mayhem in Baltimore mean every candidate should address race in the national context?

There are three potential candidates with roots in Maryland: former governors Martin O’Malley and Bob Ehrlich and retired Baltimore doctor Ben Carson.

O’Malley is cutting a European trip short to return to his home state. Ehrlich has made drug and prison reform his cause, especially as it pertains to incarceration rates.

Indeed, this might be the moment we learn if Carson is serious about being a leader — or serious about selling books. As a prominent black doctor from Charm City (he retired to Florida), Carson could be a very important voice to call for an end to violence and a voice for reform.

And that’s just the Maryland connection. In the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see if this issue becomes incorporated into stump speeches from candidates in early presidential primary states — especially in South Carolina, where African Americans make up a large portion of the Democratic primary vote.

New Hampshire 

In N.H., Donald Trump dances around candidacy questions from me in The Boston Globe: “‘I have made up my mind,’ [Donald] Trump said to reporters, but later told a group of mostly veterans that he was ‘very close to making a decision.’”

Trump says ‘I’ve made up my mind’ on 2016 run in live interview on NH1’s 5 “And in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News, [Donald] Trump elaborated on his 2016 thought process, saying “I’ll be making a decision very soon and I think a lot of people are going to be very happy with my decision. But I think in my own mind I know what I’m going to do.”

Fiorina Heads Back To New Hampshire For 4-Day Swing by the Associated Press: “[Carly] Fiorina’s return to New Hampshire starts Tuesday in Concord for a business-focused meeting with Republican House members. Through Friday, she’ll crisscross the state for meet-and-greets with lawmakers and activists, business meetings and a forum on national security issues.”

A Challenge for Iowa, N.H. Members: Keeping Campaign Staff in National Journal: “Staffers for members of Congress from Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina already are turning into top targets for presidential campaigns seeking the best and brightest to help them in the early contests next year. And who better than the operatives who have worked tirelessly on Senate and House campaigns in the very states they’ll need to win?”


Republican 2016 Hopefuls Court Iowa’s ‘Super Volunteers’ in the National Journal: “The state’s most dedicated activists are getting showered with attention.”

Walker makes his case in Northwest Iowa in The Iowa Republican: “Walker is already viewed as the Iowa frontrunner, but the opportunity for his campaign to plant a flag in northwest Iowa would only make him more formidable. The question is, did Walker do enough to peel support from guys like [Mike] Huckabee and [Rick] Santorum.”

Sales tax hike for Iowa’s outdoors gains traction in The Des Moines Register: “A late-session bid to raise Iowa’s sales tax by three-eighths of 1 percent to generate $150 million annually for natural resources and outdoor recreation programs has gained some traction in the Iowa Legislature, but it remains a long shot.”

South Carolina

The South Carolina Audition To Be Hillary Clinton’s Most Serious Challenger in Buzzfeed: “In Hillary’s absence, her would-be challengers descend upon the South Carolina Democratic Party convention, hoping to draw enthusiasm over Clinton’s infrastructure. They were all there: Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chafee, a Draft Biden group, an adviser to Jim Webb — and some saw more success than others.”

Mark Sanford Does Damage Control Ahead Of Speechwriter’s Book in FITSNews:Mark Sanford “took several swipes at [Barton] Swaim in his interview with[Schuyler] Kropf (of The Post and Courier), saying the speechwriter was so far down the totem pole in his gubernatorial office that any of his observations would had to have be based on ‘second or third-hand information.’”

SC Senate votes to expand state mental health courts in The State: “Mental health courts divert mentally ill offenders away from the criminal justice system and into treatment programs, much as drug courts do for drug offenders.”

National Headlines

The Boston Globe: Warren escalates fight with Obama on trade deal

The Boston Globe: John Kerry deploys culinary diplomacy for foreign visitors

The New York Times: George W. Bush opens up about 2016, but will stay off trail

CNN: ‘Clinton Cash’ author says no ‘direct evidence’ of wrongdoing

Washington Post: O’Malley cutting short trip to Ireland amid unrest in Baltimore

Politico: Hillary Clinton vows to rebuild state parties after Obama-era wipeout

Washington Post: Never before have so many people with so much money run for president

Wall Street Journal: Still undeclared, Jeb Bush touts record fundraising haul 

NY Times: 2016 Candidates Are United in Call to Alter Justice System

NY Times: Head Start for Jeb Bush Campaign Is Part of Scott Walker’s Plan

Follow @BostonGlobe‘s 2016 team: @JamesPindell, @Akjohnson1922,@JOSreports, @MViser, @AnnieLinskey, @GlobeRowland, @GlobeKranish,@ShiraCenter and @FeliceBelman

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