Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is considering entering the Democratic presidential race, said Saturday that financial regulation needs to be at the forefront of the 2016 campaign and suggested big banks need to be broken up if they might harm the nation.

"If a bank's too big to fail without wrecking our common good, then it's too big and we need to take lawful measures to ensure our country's common good is not imperiled," O'Malley told reporters during a conference sponsored by the South Carolina Democratic Party.

Reflecting on Democratic losses in 2012, O'Malley said that one of the lessons of last year's campaign is that "triangulation" is not a winning strategy. Some liberals criticized the use of triangulation -- adopting some of an opponent's ideas -- during President Bill Clinton's two terms in the 1990s.

"You're never going to please all the people all of the time," O'Malley said. "Finding the middle ground between a reasonable approach and an extreme approach isn't going to serve to solve the problem."

The observation could be taken as a criticism if not a warning regarding the views of Clinton's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, considered the front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination if she decides to seek the White House again.

O'Malley said the plans of other potential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, will not affect his own and that he expects to reach a decision this spring.

He has traveled to South Carolina nine times in two years. His visit Saturday came almost a year to the day before the state's presidential primary.