Beto O’Rourke made it clear in an interview with the El Paso Times that his experiences of being raised in El Paso and living most of his life along the U.S.-Mexico border would be the central theme in his campaign for the presidency, which he officially launched Thursday.
Here are outtakes from that interview:
1. Beto and his wife, Amy Sanders O’Rourke, made the decision together
“Unlike the Senate campaign (against Ted Cruz), it was not an overnight decision; a much longer, more deliberate process. But we (O’Rourke and his wife, Amy Sanders O’Rourke) very much made this decision together. So, in our 14 years almost now of marriage, we never want one to have to convince the other. We really want to come to conclusions together. And if we can’t both get there, then we just won’t do it. Whether that’s, you know, having Whataburger for dinner or whatever it is. We want to make sure that we are very respectful of one another. And there is no way for me, for us, to do this unless we are both in all the way.”
2. Hitting the road, then celebrating with a campaign kickoff rally
O’Rourke announced his candidacy via email to supporters and social media. “I thought it was important to spend some concentrated time listening to people before giving a big speech that lays out everything I think is important to this campaign. Also, I’m excited to hit the road, I’m excited to travel, excited to meet people. And I want to bring some of that back to El Paso with me, maybe even some of the people back with me, for that big kickoff rally March 30 in El Paso, which also will be the headquarters for his national campaign.
3. El Paso will be a big part of his platform
O’Rourke was born in El Paso and has lived most of his life in the border city.
“We have something very special here in El Paso, and I’m excited to bring that to this conversation (campaign) and to share our perspective from the U.S.-Mexico border with the rest of the country.”
4. He doesn’t worry about the odds
“If you were to look at the odds when I challenged Anthony Cobos for (El Paso) City Council in 2005, when I challenged (former U.S. Rep.) Silvestre Reyes in 2012, when I challenged (U.S. Sen.) Ted Cruz, they were insurmountable by most people’s calculation. Don’t show me the odds. Just give me the chance and the opportunity to run and to serve, and I’ll make the absolute most of it.”
5. He did not talk with Joe Biden about running on the same ticket in 2020
Published reports said former Vice President Joe Biden’s camp contacted O’Rourke to see if he’d be interested in being Biden’s running mate if Biden runs for president. But O’Rourke said the conversation never happened.
“I have not spoken to the vice president since he left office. And I’ve not spoken to anyone on his team. No one on his team has reached out to me. So, that’s one of many stories floating around. I don’t know the provenance. But there’s no truth to it.”
6. Beto and his kids wrote letters to stay connected during Texas’Senate campaign
O’Rourke and his family members plan to write letters to each other during the presidential campaign. “Amy got us all writing physical letters during the last (Senate) campaign, which was really helpful for me. It was just a huge boost whenever I got one of those letters in the mail (at campaign staffers’ homes or at hotels). And for the kids, I think, when they get those letters, they will know I am thinking about them. And it’s also something they can hold onto to remind them what this campaign was about.”
7. Wait, we saw you in that shirt yesterday
His campaign uniform of choice is a light-blue shirt with the sleeve’s partly rolled up. “I have seven of these. I just feel comfortable in them.” Asked if he was trying to make a statement by wearing the same shirts, he said, “Not at all.”
8. Abraham Lincoln and Joe Strummer: two loves for O’Rourke
O’Rourke, Amy Sanders O’Rourke and their three children live in a large, 114-year-old house in Sunset Heights, on the edge of Downtown El Paso and only blocks from Juárez, Mexico. Inside the open living room hang portraits of Abraham Lincoln and Joe Strummer, the late lead singer of the British punk rock group The Clash.
O’Rourke, a former musician, is a fan of Strummer. Several historic photos of El Paso also decorate the house. O’Rourke proudly showed his file of old newspaper photos of Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa leaving the house in 1915 after he met U.S. Army Gen. Hugh Scott to discuss stopping Mexico’s civil war along the border.
This article provided by NewsEdge.