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Former Texas congressmen Beto O'Rourke announced he has joined the 2020 presidential election on Thursday, joining a crowded pool of candidates who are seeking out the Democratic nomination, the AP reports.

Why it matters: Beto was unknown outside of Texas until his race against Ted Cruz put him on the national stage. If he ends up winning, AP writes that he "would be the first U.S. politician to do so since Abraham Lincoln lost his Senate bid to Stephen Douglas in Illinois in 1858, then was elected president two years later."

"The challenges that we face right now ... They will either consume us, or they will afford us the greatest opportunity to unleash the genius of the United States of America," he announced Thursday morning.

Beto O'Rourke previewed his candidacy with an Annie Leibovitz cover of Vanity Fair.

  • The 17-page spread in the April issue hits newsstands March 28, giving Editor Radhika Jones a massive news driver.

Joe Hagan, who wrote the cover story, tweets that he spent two months reporting this story before ever meeting Beto, starting last December:

  • "I convinced Beto O'Rourke to do this cover story after walking up to his house and introducing myself one Sunday afternoon. He was lounging on the front veranda, barefoot in blue jeans and T-shirt, talking on his cell phone."

Hagan captures O'Rourke's "radical openness":

Beto O’Rourke seems like a cliff diver trying to psych himself into the jump. And after playing coy all afternoon about whether he’ll run, he finally can’t deny the pull of his own gifts. "You can probably tell that I want to run," he finally confides, smiling. "I do. I think I’d be good at it." ...
The more he talks, the more he likes the sound of what he’s saying. "I want to be in it," he says, now leaning forward. "Man, I’m just born to be in it, and want to do everything I humanly can for this country at this moment."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Cuomo: "No way I resign" after sexual harassment accusations

Cuomo at a Feb. 24 press conference. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was defiant on Sunday, stating again that he would not resign even as more former aides have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.

The big picture: Cuomo has denied all sexual harassment allegations against him and said that he "never inappropriately touched anybody." He acknowledged in a statement that "some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation." Some of the calls for Cuomo to resign have come from within the Democratic party.

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between his reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

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