NEW YORK – Beto O’Rourke told Oprah on Tuesday that he will make his decision about whether he will run for president in 2020 “by the end of this month.”
During an interview with Winfrey on Tuesday in New York City, the Texas politician, whose grassroots Senate campaign against Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm election attracted national coverage due to his success in a predominantly red state, said that he has “been thinking about running for president,” but remained vague on specifics.
When Winfrey asked “When are you going to know the answer?” O’Rourke answered: “The serious answer is really soon. Before the end of this month.”
He said that the decision will come down to “my family and my kids.”
O’Rourke talked about his 2018 campaign, his hopes for the country and his meeting with former president Barack Obama.
On his meeting with Obama, Winfrey asked O’Rourke whether the former president encouraged him to run for president.
“He didn’t,” O’Rourke said. However, Obama “was very generous in sharing what his thought process was… he said look, ‘this is one of the most intense, one of the most brutal things you can go through.'”
O’Rourke told Winfrey his loss to Cruz in the November midterm race was something that left him in a “sunken place.”
O’Rourke came within three points of Cruz in November, the closest a Democrat in Texas has come in decades to unseating a Republican incumbent.
He said he “felt a profound disappointment in myself that I had let so many people down.” Winfrey asked him how he got out of that state of mind after losing. “You stop looking at yourself and you start looking at others,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke said his decision will come down to his family: his wife Amy and his three children, Ulysses, Molly and Henry.
At the end of his interview, Winfrey remarked: “You seem like you’re getting ready to run.”
The former congressman from El Paso sat down with Winfrey at an event called “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations from Times Square,” which also featured interviews with actors Michael B. Jordan and Bradley Cooper, philanthropist Melinda Gates, and Lisa Borders, president and chief executive officer of Time’s Up.
Beto O’Rourke answers questions on is future plans Friday at Paso Del Norte international bridge.
Rudy Gutierrez, El Paso Times
The interview will be aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN, on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.
After leaving office in January at the end of his term as a representative in Congress, O’Rourke embarked on a low-key road trip outside of Texas, publishing blog posts from the road about his meetings with people in New Mexico, Kansas and other states.
“I had to be moving, I had to be meeting people,” O’Rourke told Winfrey of the motivation for his trip. “It’s just how I think, how I find the next step. I just truly emerged out of this by being with people.”
Contributing: Christal Hayes, USA TODAY; Reed reported from New York and Mekelburg reported from Texas
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