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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.

Go deeper

NIH director: "No reason to panic" yet about Omicron variant

National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins on Sunday said that while much is still unknown about the Omicron coronavirus variant, "there's no reason to panic" yet but more data is needed.

Why it matters: Collins' remarks on CNN's "State of the Union" come amid a broader discussion of how the new strain, first identified in South Africa, will impact the pandemic and how to curb its spread.

37 mins ago - Health

First known U.S. case of the Omicron variant identified in California

PhotoL Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.

Supreme Court appears likely to roll back abortion rights

Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protesters demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed likely to weaken abortion rights and perhaps to let states ban the procedure altogether.

The intrigue: The court seemed likely to throw out the framework established in Roe v. Wade, but it wasn't clear whether a majority of the justices were inclined to overturn the court's precedents entirely.