O'Rourke says he can 'do a better job' communicating 2020 message

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) admitted Monday night that he “can do a better job” of conveying his presidential campaign message in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowWebb: The modern age of dissent versus riot Cable news audience numbers jump amid coronavirus, protests Demings: ‘America is on fire’ and Trump ‘is walking around with gasoline’ MORE.

O’Rourke told Maddow he was aware of the need to broaden his message to resonate nationally, beyond the local events in early primary states he has mostly participated in.

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“I have an opportunity to answer your questions, Rachel, and address those who may not have been able to attend them and make sure that they can hear what this campaign is about and how I answer the questions that are put to me,” he said. “So I hope that I’m continuing to do better over time.”

Since his announcement, O’Rourke has found limited success standing out in the crowded Democratic field, with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) leading in nearly every poll, particularly since Biden’s formal announcement on April 25. O’Rourke has made recent efforts to up his national media profile, with an appearance on “The View” scheduled for Tuesday as well as a CNN town hall in Iowa slated for later in May.

O’Rourke also argued, however, that his candidacy could put Texas, considered solidly red in the electoral college, in play for Democrats in 2020. “Texas and its 38 Electoral College votes have been unlocked,” he told Maddow. “They are in contention, and we will have a seat at the table.”

As part of his expanded strategy, O’Rourke held his first major fundraiser in New York Monday night, according to NBC News, and plans a second Tuesday in Houston followed by a third in Chicago in June. Expanding his message, he told Maddow, “will take a lot of time, a lot of miles. A lot of hours … but I’m willing to put in the work. And so far we have, and I’m very pleased with the results.”

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