Politico: “Beto O’Rourke’s most distinctive policy position? To be determined. There’s no signature issue yet, no single policy proposal sparking his campaign. Convening crowds — and listening to them — is the central thrust of his early presidential bid. And one month into the race, even some of O’Rourke’s supporters are starting to worry about persistent criticism that the charismatic Texan is missing big policy ideas of his own.”
Texas Tribune: “Bryant Young and Autumn Lanning grew disillusioned with O’Rourke and convinced he was not the true progressive they had imagined.”
“From oil policy to health care, these two young Beto exes said they never took the time to pore over votes and policy positions. Once they did — and O’Rourke went from Senate hopeful to presidential wannabe — they abandoned him and are now supporting reliable liberal Bernie Sanders in the race for the White House.”
Politico: “By the time he left the state on Sunday, it was also clear that the euphoria that greeted O’Rourke’s entry into the race three weeks earlier has started to subside. The inevitable slog of competing in a packed Democratic primary is underway, and O’Rourke has not yet drawn the wave of national adulation from the left that his Senate run against Ted Cruz last year received.”
Beto O’Rourke’s campaign announced that he raised $9.4 million in the first quarter, 18 days after launching his 2020 bid.
O’Rourke raised an average of $520,000 per day, with 218,000 total donations.
Beto O’Rourke said he would require his Cabinet to hold monthly town hall meetings if he is elected president in 2020, CNN reports.
The former Texas congressman said he would sign an executive order on his first day in office requiring the town halls “to listen to you and to be accountable to you so that we deliver for you.”
Said O’Rourke: “Not a handpicked audience. Not a theatrical production. But a real, live, town hall meeting — not just to answer questions, but to be held accountable.”
First Read has some good observations from Beto O’Rourke’s campaign kickoff in El Paso over the weekend:
- He doesn’t use a Teleprompter.
- His campaign didn’t release speech excerpts.
- His campaign excels at building picturesque rally settings (also see his last stop in Austin).
- His speech covered the bases on policy (health care, education, climate change), clearly reacting to the earlier criticism that he had lacked policy specifics.
- His speech had a heavy emphasis on immigration and the border battle (“Let’s make sure that we never take another child from another mother after her most desperate and vulnerable moment”).
- And he made unity his other big theme (“Let’s agree, going forward, before we are anything else, we are Americans first”).
“Beto O’Rourke, christening his presidential campaign at a boisterous rally in his hometown, cast himself on Saturday as a crusader against moneyed interests that he said have corrupted America’s democracy and a president he accused of capitalizing on politics of “fear and division,'” Politico reports.
“In what amounted to his maiden stump speech — delivered at the first large-scale, structured event of his nascent campaign — O’Rourke’s populist progressive framing evoked similar appeals from rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.”
Said O’Rourke: “This extraordinary, unprecedented concentration of wealth and power and privilege must be broken apart and opportunity must be shared with all.”
Dan Balz: “Democrats who spoke with members of O’Rourke’s team over the past few months said they found, between conversations late last year and more recently, a noticeable difference in his thinking. One Democratic strategist said that, in an early conversation, he got the sense that O’Rourke and his team were trying to decide whether they could run a presidential campaign largely as an extension of the Senate campaign.”
“By spring, such thoughts seemed to have disappeared.”
Said one Democrat: “He’s clear that this is at a totally different scale: the size and scope and intricacies. For him to be successful, he has to be the best candidate he can be, which means the most professional team around him.”
“Beto O’Rourke will hold a major rally in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, a city thrust to the center of America’s immigration debate by President Trump and the U.S government this week,” Reuters reports.
“O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso, will kick off three rallies in Texas in his bid to become the Democratic nominee a day after Republican Trump threatened to close the U.S border with Mexico as soon as next week.”
Former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon told CNBC that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Beto O’Rourke stand the best chance of giving President Trump a tough fight during the 2020 election.
Bannon, who said he doesn’t expect Trump to lose in 2020, said he would put the two Democrats on a combined ticket with Harris running for president and O’Rourke for vice president. They would be “a way to mobilize their base and give it their best shot.”
“Stacey Abrams, the Democrat who narrowly lost the Georgia gubernatorial race in 2018, said she believes race may be playing a role in Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke’s rising popularity after his failed Senate run,” she told MSNBC.
“Abrams suggested that she and former Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum did not receive the same attention as the former Texas congressman, whose popularity skyrocketed after losing his 2018 Senate race.”
“Beto O’Rourke has hired a former top aide to Barack Obama to be his campaign manager, installing a seasoned political strategist to take the helm of what has so far been a skeletal organization effectively overseen by Mr. O’Rourke himself,” the New York Times reports.
“Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, a data expert who was Mr. Obama’s deputy campaign manager in 2012, said in an interview Monday that she was going to work for the 46-year-old former Texas congressman because he represents ‘a new generation of leadership I think we need.'”
Elizabeth Spiers: “O’Rourke was a skater (sort of); he was in a punk band called Foss; he was, we learned recently, part of a hacker collective called the Cult of the Dead Cow, where he ran a bulletin board called TacoLand. You know this type: Home decor dominated by vinyl. Wore eyeliner every day for three months in the mid-’90s. Still talks about that Joseph Campbell book that really made him think. I’ve never met O’Rourke, but I wouldn’t be surprised to read next that he once considered naming a pet or a child after Stephen Malkmus, the frontman for Pavement.”
“I don’t object to this, personally. I’m a Gen Xer, too — born in December 1976 — and I’ve been imprinted with many of the standard Xer cultural markers. I know that Powell Peralta is not a law firm; that in global thermonuclear war, the only winning move is not to play; that selling out is a moral failure and not a desirable state in which customers have purchased all your inventory. I think Fugazi is a reasonable name for a cat, and if I’m being ruthless in my self-interrogation, I have to admit that high school freshman me would have probably had a crush on high school senior Beto.”
“But O’Rourke so completely — and hilariously — embodies the stereotype of a white male Xer that if someone wrote him into a dystopian fantasy about a youthful 40-something ex-punk-rocker dropped into politics (reluctantly and with some conflictedness, of course) to save America from a selfish boomer narcissist who failed upward into the presidency despite a history of corruption and incompetency, the character would be way too on the nose.”
The Republican National Committee on Sunday sent out a tweet linking Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s Irish heritage to his 1998 drunken-driving arrest, the Washington Post reports.
“Republicans have previously sought to focus attention on O’Rourke’s DWI arrest, but the tweet by the RNC — which came on St. Patrick’s Day and described O’Rourke as a ‘noted Irishman’ — appeared to be the first time they have raised the topic of his ancestry.”
Beto O’Rourke “said that he very likely would choose a female running mate if he manages to nab the Democratic presidential nomination next year,” the Dallas Morning News reports.
Said O’Rourke: “It would be very difficult not to select a woman with so many extraordinary women who are running right now. But first I would have to win and there’s– you know, this is as open as it has ever been.”
He added: “It’s presumptuous for me to think about who I would select as a vice president. Right now I’m seeking the nomination.”
“Oh, that’s the Beto line. No, I will say that, you know, I have a lot of respect for Beto. And it’s great to have some Texas in this race. But no, I wasn’t born to run for office, just because growing up in the ’70s, in the middle of the country, I don’t think many people thought a girl could be president. I wasn’t born to run. But I am running.”
— Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), in an interview on Meet the Press, when asked if she was born to run for president.
Beto O’Rourke (D) praise Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in a Vanity Fair interview saying she has “freed herself from fear.”
Said O’Rourke: “She does not seem to me to be afraid of making a mistake, or not saying it perfectly. And in the process says the most important — I think some of the most important — things anyone can be talking about right now, and she’s freed herself from fear.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer: “O’Rourke will visit Northeast Ohio on Monday to hold a rally… O’Rourke, a Democratic former Texas congressman, will visit the Buckeye State as part of a swing through the industrial Midwest, with stops planned in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well. Exact details on the Ohio visit are still to come.”