Beto O’Rourke can now add his name to the list of potential 2020 candidates who have met with former President Barack Obama in his Washington offices. The meeting is sure to inflame speculation around O’Rourke’s presidential ambitions.
The meeting, which was first reported on by the Washington Post, occurred on November 16. The similarities between Obama and O’Rourke have been commented on widely: both are young, relatively inexperienced candidates who have the ability to generate massive enthusiasm and get out the young vote.
O’Rourke has been teasing a run since he lost in the midterms to Senator Ted Cruz. But, like most of the possible 2020 faces, he hasn’t made a commitment. The meeting with Obama could prove to be another sign that O’Rourke is eyeing a run.
Last June, Politico reported that Obama was meeting with other potential 2020 candidates. At least nine candidates were cited on that list, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. But at the time, the former president was staying quiet on Trump and the state of the nation. That changed in the weeks before the midterms when he campaigned with candidates and called out his successor.
During his time running against Cruz, O’Rourke undoubtedly showed off a national appeal. He was the subject of profiles in every major magazine and became a media darling for his relatable appeal: he skateboards, eats Whataburger, and played in a punk band.
The Texas congressman was a fundraising phenom, shattering Senate records after bringing in $38.1 million to his war chest. That’s the sort of money that can fuel a presidential campaign, especially if the candidate drives everywhere and relies on inexpensive tactics like Facebook Live and viral clips that look great on late night MSNBC — and O’Rourke proved that he could do all of that during the campaign.
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