Beto O’Rourke, in an interview on MSNBC, acknowledged what critics of his campaign have said for some time: He must do better at getting his message out across the country if he hopes to break through in a crowded Democratic field.
“I recognize that I can do a better job, also, of talking to a national audience,” the former Texas congressman told Rachel Maddow.
O’Rourke’s breakneck campaign pace — hitting 15 states in his first eight weeks as a candidate — and taking hundreds of questions at more than 100 town hall events have helped him build a loyal grassroots following, but have not sustained the kind of top-tier poll numbers and broad national enthusiasm that greeted his entry to the race, or his Texas senate campaign.
“I hope that I’m continuing to do better over time. But we have been extraordinarily fortunate with the campaign that we have run so far,” O’Rourke said.
He believes that he has a good chance in the general election because of his popularity in Texas polls. “For the first time in at least my adult lifetime, maybe since 1976, Texas and its 38 electoral college votes have been unlocked,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke also criticized President Donald Trump’s foreign policy. “He’s turned his back on our allies, on our friends, on those connections we have forged in sacrifice that have made us so strong,” O’Rourke said.
He continued by saying that a more peaceful approach was needed if the U.S. wanted to end ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that the U.S. has neglected its relationships with Mexico and Central American countries.
“Let’s focus on violence reduction so fewer families have to make that journey,” O’Rourke said about the migration crisis. “We don’t need to greet them with cages for their kids … We can have an intelligent, diplomatic-led foreign policy.”