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From Joe Biden to writing letters to his kids: top outtakes from Beto O'Rourke's interview

CLOSE Meet Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso politician who has his sights set on Washington D.C. Wochit, WochitBeto O’Rourke was excited and anxious to hit the campaign trail in an interview with the El Paso Times, two days before he launched his Democratic presidential campaign in Iowa. He was also relaxed as he talked in the kitchen of…

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Meet Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso politician who has his sights set on Washington D.C.
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Beto O’Rourke was excited and anxious to hit the campaign trail in an interview with the El Paso Times, two days before he launched his Democratic presidential campaign in Iowa. He was also relaxed as he talked in the kitchen of his Central El Paso home with his wife, Amy Sanders O’Rourke. The couple sat at a counter in their small kitchen, the scene of many of O’Rourke’s social media posts during and after his close, but unsuccessful attempt to unseat  Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in last November’s election. O’Rourke loves to talk and very seldom gives short answers to questions. He also made it clear  that his experiences of being raised in El Paso and living most of his life along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a central theme in his campaign, which he officially launched March 14. However, in an email to supporters and a video on social media, he did not talk about the border.

Here are outtakes from the interview: 

1. The O’Rourkes made the big decision together

Beto and Amy O’Rourke said they spent much of November, December and January unwinding and doing family activities, including hiking in El Paso’s Franklin Mountains and making sure the kids got their school work done. O’Rourke also spent part of the last two months of 2018 completing the last of his three, two-year terms in Congress. By the end of January, they began discussing the pros and cons of a presidential race, O’Rourke said. The couple also let their children reach their own decisions on whether their father should make a run for the White House — something all three eventually bought into, O’Rourke said.

“Unlike the Senate campaign, 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.”  

More: ‘If Dad’s going to run for president, he better get started’: Beto O’Rourke’s family all in on his decision to run

2. Hitting the road, then celebrating with a campaign kickoff rally

O’Rourke announced his candidacy March 14 via email to supporters and social media. In the emailed announcement, O’Rourke said the nation has “crises in our economy, our democracy and our climate” that will either consume the country or provide “the opportunity to demonstrate our resolve, our creativity and our courage.”

“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, who was born in El Paso and has lived most of his life in the border city, said this is the best place to call home. When President Donald Trump held his first campaign rally of 2019 at the El Paso County Coliseum in February, O’Rourke turned it into an opportunity through a counter march and rally to show the nation how El Paso’s border location and population with many immigrants from Mexico were the best answers to Trump’s characterization of the border as a dangerous place that needs a border wall to be safe.

“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,” he said. 

More: Beto 2020: O’Rourke school, history in politics, career

4. He doesn’t worry about the odds 

O’Rourke entered politics by defeating Anthony Cobos in 2005, who was the incumbent for El Paso City Council’s South-West District 8 seat. He then won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives by beating eight-term incumbent Silvestre Reyes in the 2012 Democratic primary. Reyes was a U.S. Border Patrol sector chief before representing El Paso in Congress. 

 “If you were to look at the odds when I challenged Anthony Cobos for City Council in 2005, when I challenged 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.” 

Democrat Beto O'Rourke, shown at his home in Sunset Heights in El Paso, officially entered the presidential race Thursday morning and immediately became the focus of Republican attacks.

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Beto O'Rourke and his wife, Amy Sanders O'Rourke, at their El Paso home in the Sunset Heights neighborhood.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home.

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Beto O'Rourke sits in his home alongside his wife, Amy Sanders O'Rourke, on Tuesday in his Sunset Heights home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke and his wife Amy Sanders O'Rourke at their El Paso home in the Sunset Heights neighborhood of El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home.

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Beto O'Rourke and Amy Sanders O'Rourke at their home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke is shown at his home in El Paso.

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Beto O'Rourke sits beside his wife, Amy.

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El Pasoan Beto O'Rourke sits in the living room of his Sunset Heights home.

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Democrat Beto O'Rourke, shown at his home in Sunset Heights in El Paso, officially entered the presidential race Thursday morning.

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Beto O'Rourke at his home.

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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. He did talk to Barack Obama during his decision-making process.

O’Rourke, who called former President Barack Obama, “an extraordinary leader and amazing human being,” met with Obama at his Washington, D.C., office in November, after losing his Senate race against Cruz.

O’Rourke didn’t say much about his meeting. But, he said, the former president “did not encourage me to run, and he did not encourage me to employ (certain) campaign tactics. It was more of a chance to get to know him. I feel lucky for that.”

7. His family will withstand political attacks.

The conservative group’s Club of Growth TV ad, airing in Iowa, attacks O’Rourke as being a privileged white man, and also swings at O’Rourke’s rich father-in-law, El Paso businessman Bill Sanders — in part, falsely claiming he bankrolled O’Rourke’s first congressional race. In the Senate campaign, Cruz swung at O’Rourke’s mom, Melissa O’Rourke, because her now-closed El Paso furniture store, Charlotte’s Furniture, was charged as a corporate entity and pleaded guilty in 2010 for manipulating financial records in the early 2000s.

“I don’t like any one in my family being attacked, and I hate that part of the (campaign) bargain for Amy, Bill, and others in our family,” O’Rourke said. But they are incredibly strong, courageous people and I know they will be OK.”

8. Beto and his kids wrote letters to stay connected during Senate race

O’Rourke exchanged snail-mail letters during his Senate campaign with his three children and his wife, Amy, who instigated the letter writing. The letters were mailed to O’Rourke at campaign staffers’ homes and to hotels along the campaign trail. They plan to do the same during the rigorous presidential campaign.  

“It was just a huge boost whenever I got one of those letters in the mail. 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.”

More: Who are Beto O’Rourke’s wife, children, parents and in-laws?

9. 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.”

10. Abraham Lincoln and Joe Strummer: two loves for O’Rourke

Beto and Amy 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.

He made a reference to The Clash’s 1979 song “Clampdown” in one of his televised debates with Ted Cruz.

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.

The El Paso Times isn’t just another subscription. With our digital pass, you can get unlimited access to coverage on Beto O’Rourke, the border wall and more local news. Extend your support today for just $1 a month for the first 3 months.

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Vic Kolenc may be reached at 546-6421; vkolenc@elpasotimes.com@vickolenc on Twitter.

Read or Share this story: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/03/14/beto-2020-campaign-announcement-interview-joe-biden-amy-sanders/3153348002/

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Dona Ana

Car accident kills three, including an El Paso man, Sunday in New Mexico

Sun-News report Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident? WochitHIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal…

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Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident?
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HIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.

New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal head-on collision at mile marker 19, near Lordsburg, about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Police said a 2015 Freightliner semi-truck was traveling east on Interstate 10, when, for unknown reasons, it crossed the center median and hit a west-bound 2013 Kenworth semi-truck head on. The Freightliner’s trailer hit a 1999 Dodge pickup that was also traveling west. Both semi-trucks caught on fire.

Three people died in the crash: Sean White, 50, of West Covina, California, was the driver of the Freightliner; Jose Apodaca, 47, of El Paso, was the driver of the Kenworth; and Susan Rojo, 47, of Sierra Vista, Arizona, was a passenger in the Dodge.

A 51-year-old male driving the Dodge and a 13-year-old female passenger in the pickup, both believed to be from Arizona, were transported to an area hospital with critical injuries.

Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor and seat belt use has not been determined. Police are continuing to investigate.

More: A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

More: Car accident kills 11-year-old boy Sunday in East El Paso

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Dona Ana

Beto campaign manager was aide to Barack Obama in 2012, signals shift in O'Rourke strategy

John C Moritz, El Paso Times Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’ Mark R Lambie, El Paso TimesThe move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political…

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John C Moritz, El Paso Times
Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’
Mark R Lambie, El Paso Times

The move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political talent as he seeks to emerge from a crowded field of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination.

A former top strategist for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort is joining Texan Beto O’Rourke as a campaign manager for his 2020 presidential bid.

The addition of Jen O’Malley Dillon gives O’Rourke a seasoned, high-level operative as he attempts to distinguish himself in a crowded field of candidates seeking to challenge President Donald Trump next year.

“We’re exited that Jen O’Malley Dillon has joined our team,” O’Rourke said Monday in text message forwarded by his campaign. “Her leadership and creativity will be a great addition to a campaign that is already doing so much to bring people together to overcome the greatest set of challenges this country has ever faced.”

I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice.

— Jen O’Malley Dillon (@jomalleydillon) March 25, 2019

O’Malley Dillon was Obama’s deputy campaign manager. She said in a series of tweets that as a mother of two she wants to make a better world for her children. Her hiring was first reported by the New York Times.

“I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice,” she said in one of the tweets.

MORE: Beto O’Rourke campaign announces location for El Paso rally

She added, “and not gonna lie, pretty excited for our kids to get a chance to live in El Paso, where” her husband grew up.

Her husband, Patrick Dillon, was the deputy director of political affairs and special assistant to Obama.

O’Malley Dillon is a co-founder of the political communications firm, Precision Strategies, which worked for Obama in 2012 and also represents the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation, according to its website.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said the hiring of O’Malley Dillon is a signal O’Rourke recognizes that he cannot run his presidential bid with the same seat-of-the pants style that became a trademark in his narrow loss to U.S.Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas last year.

“Getting someone who knows what it takes to win, especially an old Obama hand, is huge,” Rottinghaus said. “Going from a U.S. Senate campaign to a presidential campaign is like going from the minor leagues to the major leagues. This says Beto knows he needs top talent.”

MORE: Beto fundraising record: $6.1 million from donors is an ‘important number’ for O’Rourke

O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman, gave up a safe Democratic seat representing El Paso to challenge Cruz. He entered the presidential race March 14 and immediately hit the road to campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early primary and caucus states on next year’s political calendar.

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Days after saying he would join the presidential race, O’Rourke said he had raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after his formal announcement — the biggest first-day haul of any of the announced Democrats. He edged Bernie Sanders’ $5.9 million, raised from 223,000 individual donors. The O’Rourke campaign said later that it received 128,000 unique contributions.

O’Rourke plans what he’s calling a “launch” on Saturday with a morning rally in El Paso to be followed by two more home-state rallies — one in Houston that afternoon and a nighttime event in Austin, a block from the Texas Capitol.

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Dona Ana

A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 CLOSE If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward. Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso TimesA pedestrian was struck by a…

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Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times
Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward.
Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso Times

A pedestrian was struck by a train early Tuesday morning in the Upper Valley, officials said.

The incident happened at Spur 16 and Doniphan Drive near Canutillo High School, El Paso Police Department officials said.

The pedestrian’s current condition and name were not released.

The El Paso Police Department’s Special Traffic Investigations unit is investigating the accident.

No further information has been released.

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Aaron Martinez may be reached at 546-6249; aamartinez@elpasotimes.com; @AMartinez31 on Twitter.

Read or Share this story: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/crime/2019/03/26/train-hit-pedestrian-el-paso-crash-tuesday-morning/3275396002/

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