Nov 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Beto O'Rourke declines to say whether he wants Biden to campaign for him

Former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who announced his bid for governor of Texas earlier this month, declined during a television appearance on Sunday to say whether he wants President Biden to campaign with him.

Driving the news: O'Rourke sidestepped questions from CNN "State of the Union" host Dana Bash about the matter, saying instead that the campaign is not about "anyone from outside of our state," and that "this is going to be about the people of Texas."

Why it matters: Biden's approval rating has sunk in recent months, and O'Rourke's reluctance to invite him could represent broader fears among Democrats that associating with the president could hurt their chances in 2022.

By the numbers: In a Washington Post-ABC News poll out last week, 51% of registered voters said that if midterms were held today, they’d vote for the GOP candidate in their district. 41% said the Democrat.

  • About half of those polled blamed Biden for rising inflation, and more than 6 in 10 said he has not accomplished much in his 10 months in office.

What he's saying:

Dana Bash: You campaigned for Joe Biden in 2020 at the -- after your presidential run came to an end. A recent poll shows, though, that just 35% of Texans approve of his performance. Would you like the president to come and campaign with you?
O'Rourke: This campaign in Texas is not going to be about Joe Biden. It's not going to be about Donald Trump. It's not going to be about anyone from outside of our state.
This is going to be about the people of Texas and what the people of Texas want. And I have told you, they want the big things, like jobs, great schools, and making sure everyone can see a doctor. But they also want to see some competence in their government ...
Bash: Does that mean that you would prefer that he not come, based on what you just said?
O'Rourke: It means that I'm focused on Texas and on my fellow Texans. Those are the people most important to me. There's no politician, there's no other person from outside of this state who can help to change the course of this election for better or for worse.
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