MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace asked former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, to “play media critic,” inquiring, “What we can do better?” in covering his campaign.
O’Rourke is doing a media blitz since relaunching his stalled campaign, recently appearing on “The View” and on a CNN Town Hall.
On Friday, Wallace — who served as White House communications director for former President George W. Bush — gave him a chance to offer his media “wish list.”
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“Play media critic,” Wallace told him. “What can we do better, for those of us covering your candidacies far away from where the first votes will be cast? … Don’t hold back!”
“Good question,” O’Rourke responded, taking a moment to ponder.
Eventually, he offered: “We’ll have incredibly powerful town hall meeting, 10 or 12 amazing questions, people sharing their own stories … then there will be members of the media there, who will ask me a horse race question.”
He then suggested that reporters focus more on “fundamental issues.”
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O’Rourke then elaborated, voicing questions that he thought many voters would be asking themselves: “How do I afford to ensure that I can take care of myself and fill this prescription? Or how do I guarantee my child is going to a world-class public school by paying teachers a living wage? How do we deal with climate change before it’s too late?” he continued.
“These are the issues that are on people’s minds right now. It’s very infrequent that I am asked about those issues … my members of the media, especially on the ground and on the trail.”
O’Rourke added that he understood “how captivating the horse race part of this can be,” but stressed that there’s a “disconnect between what is reported and what is often said in these town hall meetings.”