tv Headliners MSNBC March 17, 2019 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
those reporters wise enough to schedule their travel accordingly, may catch basketball. >> very smart. i'm watching, of course, to see for the third week in a row, whether the mueller report will come to congress. that does it for us tonight. we'll be back with you next week from 7:00 to 9:00 eastern. for now, good night from washington. this is my fight. >> after months of will he or won't he -- >> we begin this morning with a great big name entering the race. >> he is in. >> former el paso congressman pa beto o'rourke is officially running for breads. >> amy and i are happy to share with you i'm running to serve you as the next president of the united states of america. >> beto is the kind of candidate who can appeal to voters in these states and turn the electoral map on its head. >> beto is a star candidate as much as he is a politician. >> another step for the texas phenom who nearly beat senator
ted cruz. >> took out more votes than any other democrat state-wide had ever gotten. >> he actually raised more money than ted cruz, which nobody saw coming. >> you look like ted kennedy. >> his positive message and internet savvy made him a sensation. >> but not everyone is onboard with beto. >> he was running a campaign of puppies and rainbows. >> does this democratic favorite have what it takes to reach the white house? >> why are we excited about someone who is very light on policy? >> can you run a national campaign that is about aspiration and invasion and not about a deep dive on substance and issues. >> a young man who has very little going for himself, sxement he as a great first name. >> beto, bitto. >> we saw in texas that we have a chance to be part of doing something great for this country. >> one, two, three. texas.
>> ahead, the rise and rise of beto o'rourke. all the speculation ended on march 14th. less than 24 hours after "vanity fair" published a cover featuring him in a pose reminiscent of ronald reagan. beto o'rourke announced his candidacy for president and hit the road in iowa. >> it's the first stop in our campaign to be president of the united states of america. >> you'll see us run the largest grassroots campaign this country has ever seen. >> i hope to be able to represent you. get out there and vote. >> beto o'rourke catapulted in 2018 from a relatively obscure
three-term congressman to the man who took on senator ted cruz in deep red texas, and almost won. >> for thoughts and prayers, senator cruz, are just not going to cut it anymore. the people of texas, the children of texas, deserve action. >> in the end, the candidate known simply as beto fell short, but he still made an outsized impact in texas. >> the beto o'rourke effect was a real thing in texas. he turned a lot of people out to vote who would not have voted. he also turn adlot of people who might not have voted for democrats to vote for democrats. >> that helped not only him but this whole slate of candidates. >> beto also crushed fund-raising records, bringing in almost $80 million without pac money. thanks to his constant posts on facebook, beto mania didn't just sweep the state but the entire country. >> he would do things like go to a what-a-burger and skate in the
parking lot. he would do his laundry on facebook live, and people would watch. people would watch him do laundry. in a time where there's so much, he penetrated. in connecticut and oregon, people had beto for senate signs. >> he did all that without pollsters or speechwriters. it was just beto being beto. >> he's very charismatic. a very compelling speaker. he's shown he's a fantastic fund-raiser. especially from small donors. and i think people like him. >> he's our best bet to beat trump because he can bring in such a wide contingency of democratic voters and folks from the other side as well. >> if you're a republican and you're here, you're in the right place. if your rar democrat and you're here, you're in the right place. >> democrats have compared beto to barack obama and to another political icon, a man he curiously resembles. >> the first time i met him, i thought oh, my god, he looks
like bobby kennedy. >> one of the more unlikely people to appreciate beto's appeal is jeff rowe, a senior strategist for his apoene nltd ted cruz. >> said on election night, i can't believe anyone beating him. he's one of the most dynamic politicians the democratic party hatz, bar none. and the tilt and the shift left that the democrat party is undergoing right now, he's right in line at the right time to be the nominee for the democrats or at least be on the ticket. >> there are people running for president now who no one is clamoring for. everyone is clamoring for him. if it were you, wouldn't you listen? >> i don't think there's a clearer contrast with trump in the democratic party in terms of tone than beto that really optimistic, you know, appeal to our better selves tone that beto brings. >> when he appears on an oprah special in february, beto made a
kennedyesque call to action, asking the audience to confront the mistreatment of migrants at the border. >> do not blame this on donald trump. do not blame this on a political party. do not blame this on someone else. if we are a democracy, then the people are the government. the government is the people. it's on every single one of us to make it right. >> the issue of immigration and border security will be a signature one for beto. that was clear in february 2019 when donald trump traveled to beto's hometown of el paso for a rally. the former congressman met him with a competing demonstration. >> we're the living proof that this is a safe community because we're good to each other. >> all of us together are going to make our stand. here in one of the safest cities in the united states of america.
safe, not because of walls but in spite of walls. [ speaking spanish ] >> he's a year and a half old. >> for beto, who grew up bilingual among families from both sides of the border, these issues are deeply personal. >> he absolutely believes that a country of immigrants is a better country and that the immigrant experience in this country is fundamental to the story of america. >> a quarter of those who live here were born in another country. their very presence makes us safer, more successful, stronger, more secure. >> that's his issue. it's a home game for him. not an away game. as it is for other candidates coming onto that field. >> coming up later -- >> he's a relentless campaigner. the number they throw out is he knocked on 16 thoub doors. knocked on 16 thoub doors. [quartet singing] bum bum bum bum... pass the ball... pass the rock..
together, we are making a stand for the truth. >> beto o'rourke, former congressman from el paso, went toe to toe with president trump in february on the issue of the border wall. >> the country is counting on us. let's do it. good if you could, would you take the wall down now here? >> yes, absolutely. >> he grew up at a time where the border was open. really open. >> the oldest of three children, robert francis o'rourke was born to pat and melissa o'rourke in el paso in september 1972. >> pat was el paso county judge. which is kind of the top administrative position in el paso county. >> his mother, melissa, comes from a business family here in town. so both his parents were very well known in the community. >> i grew up exposed to, you know, what it's like to run a business, what it's like to serve, what it's like to be in
politics. and not just how hard those things are and just, you know, how you get them done, but the joy that you can find in them. >> his childhood nickname, beto, short for roberto, or robert, would stick with him through adulthood. >> el paso is a very hispanic culture, so even a lot of anglo families would adopt hispanic nicknames. >> pat had high hopes for his son, but beto was more of a free spirit. chris cummings is a childhood friend. >> ride skateboards and bicycles. wander the neighborhood. kind of looking for trouble, but not serious trouble. >> growing up, beto's relationship with his father was, by many accounts, complicated. >> what beto has told me is that pat o'rourke was this larger than life figure who could really suck the oxygen out of a room.
but i think he was maybe not always the easiest person to have as your father. and so that was part of the reason that he ended up going to this all-male boarding school in virginia. >> beto found the release from those high expectations in the rebellious world of punk rock. beto started his own punk band. >> he had this band, foss, with a few of his friend prom back in el paso. he likes an adventure. he likes a road trip, so they booked gigs where they could. >> beto and his band even appeared on the local el paso talk show called "let's get real with bill lowry." they weren't a big deal band or anything, but they convinced a local access preacher, an evangelical preacher, to let them on his show by pretending to be a gospel band. they reached out to him later and he remembered the incident and said that guy is beto o'rourke? i can't believe he turned into a high functioning member of society. >> beto moved to new york city in 1991 to attend columbia
university. first, to study film and then english. at columbia, he opened himself up to new experiences. joining the crew team. while he was a model of determination on the boat, a more reckless side of beto emerged on a return trip to el paso. >> he had an arrest for essentially a burglary charge on the utep campus. he didn't steal anything, but he broke into a place he shouldn't have with a couple friends. >> beto spent the night in jail. the local prosecutor dropped the charges a few months later. he returned to new york city and stayed there after graduating from columbia. >> beto was basically bumming around brooklyn. he had a lot of tempjobs, odd jobs. he was a nanny for a family on the upper west side of new york. what he told me was he was really looking for meaning in life and what he wanted to do with his life. >> west texas was calling him home.
but the adjustment to life back in el paso wouldn't be a straight path. in september, 1998, he was arrested a second time. this time for driving under the influence. >> the dui was the stupid kind of thing that people sadly do too often in their 20s. >> he completed a program for dui infractions and the charge was dropped. as the new milemmian dawned, beto got serious about making his own mark in el paso. in 1999, he and two friends launched a web services company and later an alternative newspaper and online magazine. all under the name stanton street. >> he really thought that stanton street could offer a truly local voice. >> the content was smart. it was investigative. he also i think had designs on making el paso a better place somehow. >> his father, retired from politics, was one of stanton
street's more popular correspondents. filing accounts of his solo travels on bicycle. but then in july 2001, pat o'rourke was hit by a car and killed. >> it was a shock to everyone. and i know that beto took it really hard. >> beto was asked about his father's impact on his own public service. >> you know, he absolutely loved life. and -- sorry. >> it's all right. >> not long after pat's death, the stanton street newspaper and online magazine folded. it was a disappointment, but it wouldn't be the last time el paso would hear from beto. coming up, beto o'rourke's first run for office. rst run foe -guys, i want you to meet someone.
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>> i was extremely impressed with how smart he was and how passionate he was about his commitment to wanting to serve the community. >> he would run for city council. and civic engagement wasn't the only thing on beto's mind. he started dating amy hoover sanders, an educator and daughter of multimillionaire real estate developer bill sanders. >> they very quickly fell in love. and it was pretty quick after that i think maybe a year or two, and they got married. >> in 2005, beto hit the streets in his first political campaign for city council. >> nobody thought beto would win, and he, i think that was when he really truly began to appreciate the power in knocking on doors. >> and when everything was said and done, all of the incumbents were swept away. >> one of the first initiatives that beto and fellow council members had was a major revitalization of downtown el
paso, but soon after its 2006 unveiling, community activists began pushing back on the plan. >> they crashed pretty hard against forces that said this downtown revitalization you're going to do is going to tear down this neighborhood, which was right next to the border near downtown, which is a long time historical mexican-american neighborhood there. >> one of the protest leaders was noted el paso historian david sderoto romo. >> we weren't sold on this project that it was some kind of panacea that was going to, you know, make el paso great again. and that was actually their slogan at the time. it's kind of ironic. >> beto's father-in-law, founder of a real estate development company, was the public face of the revitalization plan. >> beto as a city councilman finds himself in a difficult role where he's trying to push forward community interests that might also benefit his
father-in-law. >> and to us, mr. o'rourke was just a pretty face of a very ugly plan against our most vulnerable neighborhoods. >> speaking in spanish, beto tried to sell the proposal to a skeptical audience. >> residents of the community had said how can you be sitting at the same dinner table with the same person, your father-in-law, that starts this consortium and starts this project. >> beto insisted that he was doing what he saw as best for the community. >> later on, bill sanders pledged he wasn't going to take any profit from it. >> in the end, the assurances didn't matter. the project was killed. in part by the great recession of 2008. councilman o'rourke moved on, and in 2009, set his sights on a crisis that he saw first-hand as an el paso resident. the nation's long running war on
drugs. >> i would ask that there be some language in here that would also include rethinking our war on drugs, which by any measure i have looked at, has been an abject failure. >> beto introduced a resolution ahead of its time. >> the city council pushed through a resolution that the country should consider having a debate about the legalization of marijuana. >> beto in approaching this saw obviously the u.s. playing a huge role in funding this drug-related violence because we had struck this awful bargain. we'll buy your drugs, we'll send you money. >> but that resolution was very unpopular with the congressman of el paso, sylvester reyes, who had been a former border patrol officer, was kind of a more conservative democrat, and thought that was going to jeopa jeopardize federal funding for the el paso area, having the city council take such a strong
stand for legalization. >> the pressure congressman reyes brought was too much for the city council. and the idea was dropped. but just two years later, beto o'rourke would take on el paso's powerful congressman in a far bigger contest. gunning for his congressional seat. >> sylvester reyes was a longtime congressman. he had a lot of seniority in washington. bill clinton campaigned on his behalf. >> when beto first entered the race, i think sylvester reyes took him lightly. reyes had been in office for a number of years, had never faced a significant challenge. >> in september 2011, beto began his race and a ground game that would become the candidate's trademark strategy. >> he obviously loves to campaign. he is really natural with meeting people. >> voters in west texas were open to beto's ideas and enthusiasm. but there was one obvious and
unavoidable challenge for beto. demographics. >> it's a really heavily mexican-american community, el paso. beto is obviously not hispanic. and sylvester reyes is mexican-american, so just playing on pure identity politics, you know, a 6'4" irish white dude might not have had a chance. coming up, with his opponent backed by democratic heavyweights and a firm base of support, beto would face jet another hurdle. this one from his past. rom his t look limu. a civilian buying a new car. let's go. limu's right. liberty mutual can save you money by customizing your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. oh... yeah, i've been a customer for years. huh... only pay for what you need.
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i'm richard lui with your hour's top stories. the prime minister of new zealand said her cabinet is discussing gun control options in the wake of the mosque attacks that killed 50 people. >> banning ownership of semiautomatic rifles are amongst the possibilities being considered. >> president trump continued to go after john mccain seven
months after the senator's death. despite condemnation from mccain's daughter and others, the president continued to target mccain in a series of tweet. for now, back to head liners, beto o'rourke. in 2011, beto o'rourke took on the establishment by challenging sitting texas senator sylvester reyes. the underdog wasn't only facing an entrenched core of reyes supporters in el paso. he was also up against reyes' powerful friends in washington, d.c. to fight back, beto used a relatively new strategy, putting to use his skills on social media, reaching out to the masses for smaller donations. >> beto raised, frankly, not a bad amount of money. but he wasn't going to be able to match it. >> with president obama and former president bill clinton
voicing support for reyes, it looked like the status quo would prevail in west texas. but the cavalry in the form of a super pac was on its way. >> late in the campaign, you have this super pac that gets engaged. their purported purpose was, we believe primary elections should be more competitive, that too many people get passes in primary elections. >> the super pac bombed reyes with negative ads. >> sylvester reyes's time in congress adds up. >> reyes claimed one of the donors with ties to the super pac was bill sanders, beto's father-in-law, a wealthy real estate developer. >> i think the reyes campaign was pissed. they viewed it with some anger, and they went after him, o'rourke, pretty hard. >> beto o'rourke wants to be a congressman. >> in their own negative ads, the reyes campaign unearthed beto's past.
>> he has a criminal record that includes dwi and burglary arrests. >> reyes was seizing on the arrest record, the implication i think was that beto was irresponsible. and reyes was a steady hand. >> the video publicly intoxicated being spanked. >> this video shows beto kind of on the floor dancing or writhing or whatever you want to call it. reyes's own advisers say you're looking petty, don't do that, but he continued to keep it up. >> beto's campaign fired back and went negative. >> beto's campaign seized on these reports that reyes had been giving positions and money to the people in his family. nothing that was illegal, but stuff that seemed a little too cozy. >> as the race tightened, a stroke of legislative luck hit beto's campaign. congressional redistricting delayed the primary two months. beto took full advantage and campaigned relentlessly. >> he was moving the needle
every day. i could see it. i could feel it. >> the hard work paid off. beto squeaked to victory, winning 50.5% of the primary vote. just enough to avoid a runoff. >> we knocked on the doors of over 16,000 to meet them directly in their homes, hear what they had to say, listen to their concerns, and questions and ideas. and we also went to every single debate, forum, community meeting, town hall, neighborhood association. we really wanted to meet people, talk to them, and listen to them. >> a huge deal. yeah, it was a huge upset. >> six months later in the heavily democratic district, beto trounced his republican opponent in the general election. the 40-year-old freshman congressman arrived on capitol hill in january 2013 to make his mark. but the proud son of west texas was virtually unknown in washington. >> i was covering a
congressional baseball practice. there was this one kind of skinny scraggly haired member of congress there. a couple people went up to him and said oh, are you so-and-so from so-and-so's office coming to pitch us some fastballs. he said no, actually, i'm beto o'rourke, a mib of congress. i represent el paso. >> though he was a nuby, he wasn't shying away from bold ideas. >> you're told to kwleep your head down, try to get re-elected and wait until your party is in the majority. that's not the way i approach life and not the way i would approach a challenge like this. i want to get something done. >> with republicans in firm control of the house, beto's efforts were stymied. >> i don't think you can really point to any major accomplishments that beto would have had in congress in large part because the whole time he was in congress, democrats were in the minority. it was a very frustrating time for him. >> throughout his three terms in congress, beto returned to a controversial issue that hit close to home. immigration. >> if we build more walls,
further militarize the border, we're going to push the few remaining migrants who choose to cross into the u.s., into inhospitable and deadly territory. we'll see more death and suffering. >> he tried to bring a voice of what was really happening at the border. >> the border with mexico has never been safer than it is today. >> beto's signature issue would soon dominate the 2016 presidential election. for beto, extending the wall was a costly and fundamentally flawed solution to illegal immigration. >> we need to move from a defensive posture of defending the u.s./mexico border to a posture of pride and celebration of what we have here. >> but inciting fear of illegal immigrants is what helped elect the nation's 45th president. >> we will build a great, great wall. and we will put an end to illegal immigration. >> the hostile political climate
emboldened beto, and in march 2017, when a major snow storm closed airports in washington, d.c., he decided to drive there and took a chance on an unlikely friendship with congressman will hurd. both politicians streaming much of it live on facebook. >> good morning, everybody. >> morning. >> thanks for joining us this morning. >> will hurd is a republican who represents a neighboring district to beto's. >> they found themselves in san antonio. all flights were cancelled into d.c. because of a blizzard. >> democrat beto o'rourke and republican will hurd are driving about 1600 miles from san antonio, texas, to d.c. >> in a rented chevy impala, they began the 1600-mile road trip. >> hey, america. >> the facebook videos of the unlikely pair of road warriors quickly went viral. >> i'm going to shoot a shot of this. >> like a buddy picture or a cop show. the two of them together, you know, eating snickers and hamburgers the entire time.
>> and they took calls along the way. >> hey, this is nick. >> speaker gingroom, you're on with will and beto. >> you guys are making more folks -- this is the most bipartisan news we have had in the last couple years. >> they had some very deep policy discussions. kind of kicking around ideas together. and actually were able to show that although politically, they had different stances, that they were able to identify some areas where they could work together. >> the two congressmen arrived the next day just in time to cast their votes on an array of public bills and resolutions. lauded for their bipartisan adventure. >> the two of us had to figure out how to get there, where to stop, where to sleep. how often, you know, will had to use the bathroom. his bladder is a little smaller than mine. where we were going to get doughnuts. what will likes in his coffee
and how he orders his what-a-burger. >> to millions who followed the trip on facebook, beto was emerging as a refreshing alternative to the status quo in d.c. a genuine and relatable voice for a new generation. was this rising star ready to step up and start the political fight of his life? coming up -- >> when trump was elected, they felt like they had to do something. and beto talks about this a lot. he woke up and he said what am i going to say to my kids about this time? did we do something or did we sit on the sidelines? idelines we don't follow the naysayers. ♪ ♪
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within reach. conventional wisdom says you can't make a 400 horsepower sedan, that's also environmentally conscious. we don't follow conventional wisdom. ♪ ♪ we've had all these great people who are following and commenting and sharing with us. so it's really been a fun trip. >> by march of 2017, with beto
o'rourke's bipartisan road trip in the rear view, many wondered what the future held for this young charismatic politician. >> beto and amy decided, and i would say it's a joint run, they decided they wanted to run for senate. >> in true beto fashion, the announcement was broadcast on facebook live. >> i'm running to represent the great state of texas in the u.s. senate. >> he regards her absolutely as his adviser in chief, his critic in chief. so it's natural for him to both want and need her participation as an equal partner and as part of a we, not an i. >> 45th president of the united states of america, donald j. trump. >> when trump was elected, they felt like they had to do something. and beto talks about this a lot. he woke up and he said what am i going to say to my kids about this time? did we do something or did we sit on the sidelines? >> young democratic leaders around the nation felt the same.
rising up in resistance to take on the new establishment. but in texas, the challenge would be enormous. a democrat hadn't won a state-wide election in nearly a quarter of a century. and beto's opponent was a skilled campaigner himself. >> i'm a fighter. i am passionate about what i believe. >> one of the last men standing against donald trump in a vicious battle for the 2016 republican presidential nomination. >> ted cruz had a lot of practice. right? and he was also supposedly this debate champion in college. >> ted cruz may have had a reputation as the most hated politician in washington, but they loved him in texas. >> there's only one texas. >> beto, despite his appeal, was a lone star long shot. >> i think john cornyn famously referred to it as a suicide mission. somebody had to be the sacrificial lamb to run against ted cruz. might as well be this guy from el paso with no political future
anyhow. >> beto didn't recruit expert advisers or pollsters. he invited friends, some with no political experience, to join his team. beto even asked close friend jody casey to be his campaign manager. >> i said no. that's crazy. i don't know how to run a senate campaign, but we thought about it. i think my husband asher and i had the same feeling that beto and amy had. it was really our moral obligation to help him win this race because we were so concerned about the state of the country. >> as he had done in el paso six years earlier, beto proved never to count out the underdog. >> thank you all for doing this. very grateful. >> you're exciting to me like john kennedy excited me. >> over the next 15 months, beto marched across texas. sometimes he even rolled in. >> on a first name basis with every stranger he meets, beto is
waking up passion in democrats across the deep red state of texas. >> beto pledged to visit each and every county in the state, sharing his journey on facebook live. >> to drive to all 254 counties. >> and he did. >> we continued to stick to beto's style of being this really authentic, transparent candidate, which really caught on. >> we never ask whether someone is republican or democrat. we don't care about turning texas blue or keeping it red. none of that matters as much as making sure this country lives up to its potential and its promise. >> town halls, rallies, the senate hopeful was relentless in building his base. >> typical day for beto would be a 5:00 a.m. run with constituents. >> good morning, everybody. >> so good to see you. thank you for coming out. >> he would do running town halls, essentially, where he would listen to constituents and run with them, and then he would goic back to the hotel, shower,
go to his next event and do 5 more events. >> moments big and small appeared all over social media. >> i remember one time he was like, i'm going to live stream doing my laundry. we were like, hey, hide the chones, which is slang for underwear in el paso. >> but it was one specific moment posted on facebook from an august 2018 town hall in houston, which instantly reverberated across the nation. >> the question is how do you feel about nfl players who take a knee during the national anthem. i can think of nothing more american than to peaceful stand up or take a knee for your rights anytime, anywhere, anyplace. >> he gave an honest answer and an answer that a lot of progressives had wanted a politician to have the courage to say. >> beto's response prompted passionate reactions from hundreds of thousands of americans. including tweet from lebron james, julia louis-dreyfus, and
ellen degeneres. >> even though his campaign had been pretty viral to that point, this kind of launched it into a whole new stratosphere. >> with momentum in full swing, beto focused on the issues that the always been important to him. immigration reform and the decriminalization of marijuana. while expanding his platform to become increasingly progressive. ted cruz's senior strategist jeff roe recalls -- >> he started to really go left. he was talking about things he had never talked about before. medicare for all. >> bringing republicans and democrats to the table on guaranteed high quality universal health care. >> he even called for trump's impeachment in a cnn town hall. >> i do think there's enough there for impeachment. if asked, i would vote on it. >> and astonishing number of texans were loving what they were hearing. >> we took congressman o'rourke deliberately to a red part of the state to see how his campaign would be received, how
his message would be heard. we showed up at this community college in the county where waco is, and it was like the beatles landing at jfk airport. >> beto wasn't just telling progressives what they were desperate to hear. he got them to open their wallets and showed his appreciation on social media. >> those of you who have contributed at betofortexas.com, average contribution has been $25. >> he actually raised more money than ted cruz, which nobody saw coming. >> unlike his 2012 race for a house seat, beto made a point of turning down large campaign contributions. >> a campaign that has not taken a single dime from a single political action committee. >> he didn't do it as a political stunt. he really felt like it was the right thing to do. >> as beto rapidly builds his war chest, grabbing national headlines along the way, senator ted cruz took notice. by september 2018, strategists
for both campaigns felt primed for the first debate. >> we had a small debate team, mostly young people, the prep was really just watching and understanding, you know, how ted cruz debates. >> beto, he was running a campaign of puppies and rainbows. challenged him on policy, don't let him get by on platitudes. >> the stage was set for cruz, the tenacious debater, to pounce on his starry eyed competitor. >> gentlemen, let's begin. >> the first debate was challenging for us because there were some hecklers in the crowd from ted cruz's side, and it got a little ugly, and it was disappointed. >> that's what congressman o'rourke wants to see the supreme court doing, writing the second amendment out of the bill of rights. >> that's not true. of course i support the second amendment. >> the candidates sparred over hot button issues like guns. >> the number one answer i heard from the students and parents and teachers at santa fe is more
armed police officers in schools to keep our kids safe. >> listening to rhonda hart, who lost her daughter kimberly in the santa fe shooting, she tells me bringing weapons into those classrooms would not have saved her daughter's life. it will not make us safer. >> beto is about commonsense gun laws. ted cruz wanted to frame beto is he's going to take all your guns and open up the borders. that wads completely unfair and not true. >> they also butted heads over immigration. >> senator cruz has promised to deport each and every single dreamer. that cannot be the way that texas leads on this important issue. >> his focus seems to be on fighting for illegal immigrants and granting u.s. citizenship to 12 million people who are here illegally is a serious mistake. i think congressman o'rourke is out of step with texas on that. >> some felt beto's debate performance could have been stronger. >> people criticized him. dude, he's punching you in the face, and you're not even putting up your hands, let alone punching back. >> in their next and final
debate, recorded october 16th at cbs affiliate kens, beto went on the offensive. >> he's dishonest. it's why the president called him lying ted. >> in the second debate, he started to punch back. not very well. kind of awkwardly. didn't seem like himself. >> you are all seem like himsel >> you're all talk and no action. >> pollsters told him to come out on the attack. >> he instantly regretted it. it was changing the character of the campaign he was trying to promote. >> he wasn't being who he was. we thought to ourselves oh well the carriage turned back into a pumpkin. fai fairy tale over. >> beto quickly returned to the campaign trail. and back to being beto. >> that's when the race became as close as it was. he returned to the things he was doing that were successful. not doing politics as usual.
>> with supporters out raged over president trump immigration policy, beto's message of hope and unity took hold. >> this idea we can scare each other about each other. based on where we're from. what language we spoke before we came to the country. the color of our skin. it's un-american. it's not who we are. >> coming up. >> the challenge for him as a national candidate and an opportunity is take the same play book and apply it against 50 states.
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the polls had us two points up. three points kp closing. who knows. >> as a hotly contested senate race came down to the wire, it seemed like a miracle was taking shape in texas. >> the story of the race has been the rise of beto o'rourke. two years ago he was unknown congressman. now he's a certifiable star in
the democrat party. >> this way of doing it i think is goij to end up with beto o'rourke out performing the candidates with the traditional approach. >> could he be the first democrat in a quarter century to win statewide office? >> this is not going to be the typical texas election. and i think a lot of people that began to get their hopes up. he actually could do this. >> he never ran like he thought he was going to lose. he never talked like a candidate. who would lose. >> tomorrow night we'll be celebrating the victory of our lifetime. for this state. this country. this generation. >> it's a 5,000 vote margin. in texas. >> on election night november 6. beto and his supporters gather in the baseball stadium in el paso. >> the infield was filled up with people. there's a ton of excitement. long lines to get in. >> but the crowds the enthusiasm
and the hard fought campaign. and beto himself were not enough to unseat republican ted cruz. >> we have a big call. out of texas. projecting ted cruz will return to the senate. >> election night was great. and it was really sad. i believed up until we didn't win that we were going to win. >> beto lost by just 200,000 votes. out of 8 million cast. >> tonight's loss does nothing to diminish the way i feel about texas. or this country. >> beto made this amazing speech. and very much off the cuff speech. and he just talked about just the love he felt aalong the road. and everyone that met. >> all of you showing the country how you do this. so proud of you guys.
>> he lifted everybody up. and we all felt like this is incredible. what he's done. and how he's done it and the way he's run it. >> even as his senate campaign came to an end, speculation began about a presidential run in 2020. >> beto o'rourke hasn't confirmed. there are clues pointing in that direction. >> i glooechbt there was a serious conversation about the presidency until that point. >> one democrat after another announced plans to run. he hit the road once more to do some soul searching and ponder what would be the most important decision he would make. >> you have heard of bet ta testing. it's a trial run before making something major hit the market. well. in the case of a potential presidential candidate. beto testing. >> even as the media poked fun at what the called his weird excellent adventure. beto explained in the web site
he was taking the pulse of the heart land. as beto seemed to delay his decision about running, the media reported doubts about his candidacy from his fellow democrats. he was also criticized for supporting his road trip buddy. republican congressman will herd. who won his reelection and prevented the democrats from picking up an additional seat in the house. >> for the first time he's being attacked from the left. it's totally fair to criticize the record. at the same time we can't have this purity test with democrats. who are saying they have to check all the boxes or they are unacceptable. we would have no candidates. >> beto o'rourke this morning officially joining the field of 2020 candidates. >>. the announcement many has been watching for. >> we're happy to share with you i'm running to serve you as next president of the united states. this is a defining moment of truth for the country.
and for every single one of us. >> it launched an immediate wave of speculation about his chances. >> a lot of positions that he'll have to take in a presidential election. to different himself from the democrat field are things he needs to think about for the first time. >> take the same play book and a apply it against 50 states. can you run aspiration and inspiration. and not about deep dive substance. >> president trump wasted little timesharing his opinion about beto's announcement. >> he's got a lot of hand movement. i said is he crazy or the way he acts? >> many people who followed his career see this as the right moment. for him and the country. >> he learned in the last election the young people, people of color and and women
power the democrat engine. >> instead of fear and division he's offering hope and inspiration and unity of the that's what people want now. >> what a contrast between trump and o'rourke. it would be incredible. >> history calls for us to come together. to show ourselves and fellow americans the generations that follow what we're made of. and what we can do. and the only way to get that done is get it done together. thank you all for having me out today. this is an msnbc special presentation. all we hear about is this phony russia witch hunt. >> the mueller/russia report is not ready yet. >> washington is in eager and anticipation mode. our report is. >> this is really important. the unprecedented moments. >> those were lies and i am so sorry that the american people were told that. >> mr. trump knew of and directed the trump moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it.