President Joe Biden has sunk underwater in the polls, especially in states with more independents. Now, one Democratic mainstay is distancing himself from the president.
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, is running for governor. On the campaign trail over the weekend he interviewed with CNN’s Dana Bash, and he brushed off questions about Biden.
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Bash informed O’Rourke about the president’s approval rating: 35 percent in Texas. Then, she asked whether O’Rourke would invite Biden to campaign for him.
She asked, “Does that mean that you would prefer that he not come?”
O’Rourke paused and responded, “It means that I’m focused on Texas and on my fellow Texans. Those are the people most important to me.”
O’Rourke continued bloviating, even as Bash tried to cut him off. He spoke about his plans to run on the issues, instead of running on the reputations of other Democrats.
Watch an excerpt of the interview here —
Beto O'Rourke doesn’t want Joe Biden campaigning for him in Texas. pic.twitter.com/hvRFnc2bR0
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) November 21, 2021
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In the rest of the interview, O’Rourke hammered local issues, like the power failure in February and the record of current Gov. Greg Abbott.
“We had an electricity grid failure here in this state this year, though we are the energy capital of North America, millions without power, hundreds who unfortunately died during that disaster. And, even afterwards, our governor has done nothing to protect this electricity grid,” O’Rourke said. “People in this state want change. And they’re focused on what’s happening here in Texas, not on what’s going on in the rest of the country.” He also blamed Abbott for energy prices.
Then, he attacked Abbott’s record on abortion and firearms.
“The abortion ban that puts a $10,000 bounty on the head of any Texas woman trying to make her own reproductive health care decisions,” O’Rourke said. “The permitless carry bill that he signed into law allows anyone to carry a loaded firearm in public without any kind of background check, without any kind of training whatsoever.”
Other Democrats, besides O’Rourke, have gained the public’s trust on abortion, especially in the wake of the controversial Texas Heartbeat Act. However, O’Rourke scared some liberals in 2019 after parroting some extreme views on firearm confiscation.
Bash asked O’Rourke whether he is still “going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” Bash also questioned O’Rourke’s decision to focus on local issues, because immigration — a persistent topic in Texas — involves the federal government.
In the interview, O’Rourke was haunted both by the firearm comment and by the specter of an unpopular Democrat president.
Just last year, liberal pundits were hoping for downballot Democrats to ride Biden’s coattails. Now they seem to be worried about the opposite: a reverse coattails effect.
The Horn editorial team