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Beto O'Rourke takes questions from reporters and voters immediately after finishing the Lucky Run 5k race March 16 in North Liberty, Iowa. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Fresh off the official launch of his presidential campaign, Beto O'Rourke hit several stumbling blocks this weekend as he sought to deflect early gaffes, criticisms of his candidacy and dirt from his teenage years.

Driving the news: A number of 2020 candidates were asked about O'Rourke's "I'm just born to be in it" Vanity Fair spread, and while none scorned him in the way President Trump might have, some chose to draw sharp distinctions. Sen. Amy Klobuchar told NBC's Chuck Todd: "No, I wasn't born to run for office, just because growing up in the '70s, in the middle of the country, I don't think many people thought a girl could be president." South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, meanwhile, said: "I think I was born to make myself useful."

  • In Iowa, O'Rourke was criticized for joking that his wife raises their kids, "sometimes with my help." He later apologized: "Not only will I not say that again, but I’ll be more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage, and also the way in which I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege."
  • A Reuters report revealed that O'Rourke was a member of the Cult of the Dead Cow hacker group in the late 1980s. He wrote a piece of online fiction when he was 15 about killing children, which he addressed on the campaign trail: "I’m mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed, but I have to take ownership of my words. ... and I have to constantly try to do better."
  • O'Rourke also surprised some by declining to release the fundraising totals from the first 24 hours of his candidacy, which has "become something of a tradition among the 2020 contenders," per AP.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
2 hours ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Exclusive: Meta's civil rights chief aims to "turn the knob" for good

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Meta

A year ago, Facebook brought in Roy Austin, Jr. to lead a new team focused on civil rights. Since then, he has assembled a squad of experts advising parent company Meta on everything from voting rights to hate speech to ensuring new products don't have discriminatory impact.

The big picture: Austin's team of nine must tackle those tough issues inside a company of nearly 70,000 employees serving more than 3 billion users around the world.

Momentum builds for salary transparency

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York City will soon require employers to supply a salary range when they're advertising a position — the biggest step yet in the growing but controversial movement for pay transparency.

Why it matters: Laws like New York's aim to give workers, particularly women and people of color, more power in job negotiations. But the rise in remote work is throwing a wrench into the effort.

2 hours ago - Health

Contact tracing fizzles across America

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

States across the country are scaling back their contact tracing efforts, often focusing on vulnerable communities and relying more on Americans to alert close contacts themselves after testing positive for COVID.

Why it matters: As vaccines have become available, the virus has become more infectious and life has slowly headed more toward normal, health officials have come to view contact tracing as a relatively inefficient use of resources.