Mar 17, 2019

Beto O'Rourke stumbles out of the gate with early gaffes

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.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 662,073 — Total deaths: 30,780 — Total recoveries: 139,426.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 122,666 — Total deaths: 2,147 — Total recoveries: 1,073.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces "strong" travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, rules out quarantine enforcement.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump flags travel adversaries for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said Saturday night the CDC would issue a "strong" travel advisory" for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and that a "quarantine will not be necessary."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 mins ago - Health

Trump rules out quarantine in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut after pushback

President Trump on the White House grounds on Saturdya. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Saturday night that he's decided not to introduce quarantine enforcement measures fo New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, but a "strong" travel advisory will be issued for those states.

Why it matters: The president said hours earlier he was considering the move to combat the rise in novel coronavirus cases. But he received pushback, most notably from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who told CNN it would cause "chaos." "This would be a federal declaration of war on states," Cuomo added.

Go deeper: Updates on coronavirus in the U.S.