NBC Hypes Beto ‘Buzz,’ Excited by O’Rourke ‘Making it Official’

After spending weeks eagerly awaiting former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke entering the 2020 presidential race, on Thursday, NBC’s Today show excitedly declared “It’s official” and touted all the “buzz” surrounding the failed 2018 Senate candidate. Amid soundbites of O’Rourke’s announcement video, the morning show helpfully outlined his liberal platform.

“Breaking news, it’s official. The high-profile Democrat announcing his presidential bid this morning,” co-host Hoda Kotb proclaimed at the top of the show. “The big name in the Democratic Party making his White House run official this morning. So, what’s with all the buzz behind Beto O’Rourke?,” fellow co-host Craig Melvin later teased in the 7:30 a.m. ET hour.

 

 

Introducing the segment minutes later, Melvin repeated: “...after months of hinting at a presidential run in 2020, former Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke just made it official.” Correspondent Kristen Welker gushed: “He is in. Beto O’Rourke’s announcement that he’s entering the 2020 race will shake up the Democratic primary.”

She touted how he “drew national attention and broke fundraising records during his losing campaign to unseat Senator Ted Cruz” in 2018.

“This morning, Beto O’Rourke making it official,” Welker enthused before parroting the Democrat’s talking points: “O’Rourke saying the interconnected crises of the economy, the climate, and the nation’s democracy have never been greater.”

The reporter cited a gooey profile of the candidate published on Wednesday as evidence of his upcoming decision to enter the race: “The latest hint O’Rourke was ready to run coming in a glossy Vanity Fair spread overnight, captured by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz. O’Rourke saying, ‘I’m just born to do this’...”

Welker also recalled O’Rourke suggesting his intentions during a fawning interview with Oprah Winfrey in February. At the time, the Today show hailed the “rising political star” as the “new Obama.”  

While lamenting that the one-time Texas lawmaker “failed to unseat Senator Ted Cruz in the midterm elections,” Welker asserted that his remarks “about the divisive issue of NFL players taking a knee to protest police brutality” had “helped catapult him to national fame.” A clip ran of O’Rourke endorsing the protests, without the correspondent actually framing his position as controversial.

After promoting O’Rourke being “known for drawing big money and big names,” Welker offered a few seconds to his flaws: “But he’s also faced criticism for struggling in a recent Washington Post interview to say exactly where he stands on important policy issues like immigration.” She then cited a softball New York Times profile that “painted the former entrepreneur and rock musician as still searching to define who he is.”

Welker noted that “O’Rourke faces a tough primary field filled with a diverse array of candidates,” but assured viewers that, “Despite the challenges, O’Rourke now signaling he’s ready for the fight.”

The celebratory coverage of O’Rourke entering the presidential race was just the culmination of a media love affair with the Texas Democrat going back months.

Here is a full transcript of the March 14 report on the Today show:

7:01 AM ET TEASE

HODA KOTB: Breaking news, it’s official. The high-profile Democrat announcing his presidential bid this morning.

7:40 AM ET TEASE

CRAIG MELVIN: The big name in the Democratic Party making his White House run official this morning. So, what’s with all the buzz behind Beto O’Rourke?

7:44 AM ET SEGMENT

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: We’re back, In-Depth Today, and the breaking political news of the morning.

CRAIG MELVIN: That’s right, after months of hinting at a presidential run in 2020, former Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke just made it official. NBC’s Kristen Welker has more on his announcement. Kristen, good morning.

KRISTEN WELKER: Craig, Savannah, Hoda, good morning to all of you. He is in. Beto O’Rourke’s announcement that he’s entering the 2020 race will shake up the Democratic primary. The Texas Democrat drew national attention and broke fundraising records during his losing campaign to unseat Senator Ted Cruz. Now, the El Paso native says he’s ready to run for the White House.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Beto O’Rourke Running for President; What’s Behind the Buzz for Democrats’ Newest Candidate?]  

BETO O’ROURKE: Amy and I are happy to share with you that I’m ready to serve you as the next President of the United States of America.

WELKER: This morning, Beto O’Rourke making it official. The former Texas congressman announcing he’s running for president in this video message posted on social media.

O’ROURKE: This is a defining moment of truth for this country and for every single one of us.

WELKER: O’Rourke saying the interconnected crises of the economy, the climate, and the nation’s democracy have never been greater.

The latest hint O’Rourke was ready to run coming in a glossy Vanity Fair spread overnight, captured by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz. O’Rourke saying, “I’m just born to do this,” after recently telling Oprah –

O’ROURKE [FEBRUARY 5]: I have been thinking about running for president. [Cheers]

WELKER: In his last political fight, the 46-year-old father of three tried but failed to unseat Senator Ted Cruz in the midterm elections. But it was these remarks that quickly went viral during that campaign, about the divisive issue of NFL players taking a knee to protest police brutality, that helped catapult him to national fame.

O’ROURKE: I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up or take a knee for your rights.

WELKER: O’Rourke is known for drawing big money and big names. But he’s also faced criticism for struggling in a recent Washington Post interview to say exactly where he stands on important policy issues like immigration. While a congressman, he sponsored three bills that were signed into law, and this recent New York Times profile painted the former entrepreneur and rock musician as still searching to define who he is.

The President recently took aim at O’Rourke during a rally in his hometown, El Paso.

DONALD TRUMP [FEBRUARY 11]: They’ll say Beto O’Rourke – that’s his last name, right, O’Rourke? Beto O’Rourke had a wonderful rally of about 15 people.

WELKER: O’Rourke faces a tough primary field filled with a diverse array of candidates, and even steeper competition if former Vice President Joe Biden enters the race. Despite the challenges, O’Rourke now signaling he’s ready for the fight.

O’ROURKE: The only way for us to live up to the promise of America is to give it our all and to give it for all of us. We are truly now, more than ever, the last great hope of Earth.

WELKER: And, O’Rourke’s first stop today, the critical state of Iowa. He’ll hold several events there over the next few days. O’Rourke is aiming to have a crossover appeal to moderates and progressives. But the question is, can he turn his defeat in Texas into a national victory? We’ll have to see. Craig, Savannah, Hoda?

MELVIN: Kristen Welker, Beto’s in.

GUTHRIE: Now there are how many?

MELVIN: Twenty-three.

GUTHRIE: Kristen probably knows. How many candidates, Kristen? Putting you on the spot.

WELKER: I think that makes it maybe 13, I think. I think.

GUTHRIE: Okay, a lot.

HODA KOTB: I’d put money on that.

WELKER: Fact check, fact check me.     

GUTHRIE: Yes, exactly, the internet will tell us.

MELVIN: Thanks, Kristen.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Liberals & Democrats NBC Today Video Kristen Welker Beto O'Rourke

Sponsored Links