CNN Fails to Call O’Rourke Out for Lying About Fleeing DWI Accident, Legalizing Narcotics

Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke was the only candidate present at the CNN Texas Senate Town Hall Thursday night since GOP Senator Ted Cruz reportedly declined the invitation. During their first debate at Southern Methodist University, O’Rourke drew criticism and four Pinocchios from The Washington Post for lying about not trying to flee the scene of a car accident he caused when he drove while intoxicated. Despite the lie, it was never brought up by moderator Dana Bash or asked in the preselected questions from the audience.

Besides not asking the liberal media heartthrob about lying about an aspect of his DWI, Bash didn’t call O’Rourke out on other bits of misinformation he peddled. This was important because during the 2016 presidential election (and since), there were calls from the liberal media to “fact check” President Trump as he was speaking.

Ironically, one of O’Rourke’s falsehoods came when he explaining why he called his opponent “Lyin’ Ted” at a debate earlier in the week.

“It changed this week. You've been saying that people are sick of the pettiness and the smallness in politics, yet during Tuesday's debate that you had with Senator Cruz, you took a page right out of President Trump's playbook and you called Senator Cruz “Lyin’ Ted”. Why did you do that,” Bash asked.

While he claimed he regretted using the nickname, he argued that it was needed. “To not answer to these attacks when your opponent says you want to legalize heroin or that you want to take everyone's guns away or that you want to open the border, it can invite, you know, confusion or questions by people,” he told Bash.

 

 

The key part in O’Rourke’s statement there was that he claimed Senator Cruz was lying about him wanting to legalize heroin.

Bash didn’t raise a concern at the time but brought it up roughly six minutes later:

Congressman, to follow up, there's a question about legalization of drugs, and I want to read what you said in 2009 at an El Paso city council meeting. You brought up ending the prohibition on narcotics in the U.S., and you said, "I think we need to have a serious discussion about doing that, and that may, in the end, be the right course of action." How do you explain to a mom like Angie why there should be a serious discussion about legalizing narcotics, which includes heroin?

Bash didn’t note how that contradicted O’Rourke’s claims from just a few minutes earlier.

O’Rourke then seemed to admit that legalizing heroine was an effect of his policy proposal back then, considering the violence just over the border in Mexico. “I thought we owed ourselves, as a country, our sister city of Ciudad Juarez, a conversation on the best way forward,” he said. “Now, that resolution or that amendment that I offered was inartful at best. What I was trying to get to was marijuana, the cornerstone of the drug trade economy.

So, to be clear, I don't want to legalize narcotics. I do think we should end the prohibition on marijuana and effectively control and regulate its sale and make sure those who need it for medicinal purposes are able to obtain it through a prescription from their doctor,” he added.

This inaction by Bash demonstrated the liberal media’s double standard for grilling GOP candidates and Trump, but overlooking the misinformation from Democrats. This is CNN.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN Texas Senate Town Hall
October 18, 2018
7:22 p.m. Eastern

DANA BASH: And Congressman, I want to ask about the tone in this race here in Texas. It changed this week. You've been saying that people are sick of the pettiness and the smallness in politics, yet during Tuesday's debate that you had with Senator Cruz, you took a page right out of President Trump's playbook and you called Senator Cruz “lyin’ Ted”. Why did you do that?

BETO O’ROURKE: Yeah. So, there have been untold dollars spent on TV ads that are lies, that are dishonest, trying to scare you about me, trying to incite people based on fear. I went through a whole debate at SMU with Senator Cruz where he made up one story after another. And so, at the very outset, when he began with yet another lie, I decided that I could either spend the rest of the debate responding to every single dishonest thing that he said or I could make sure that everyone understood exactly what he's doing. I said, look, he's dishonest. It's one of the reasons that he got tagged with this nickname and that nickname resonates because it's true. But I got to tell you, it's not something that I feel totally comfortable with, and perhaps in the heat of the moment, I took a step too far.

BASH: Do you regret it?

O’ROUKE: You know, I don't -- I don't know that that's the way that I want to be talking in this campaign. But I also heard from so many people, including many here, that you know, as we focus on the future and define ourselves by our ambitions -- all those things that I talked about earlier that we should be able to achieve and to lead on. To not answer to these attacks when your opponent says you want to legalize heroin or that you want to take everyone's guns away or that you want to open the border, it can invite, you know, confusion or questions by people. And so, I want to make sure that people know that's not true. That's dishonest. And then I also want to make sure there's a contrast offered on everything that we want to do from immigration to education to health care, the choice could not be any more clear.

(…)

7:28:13 p.m. Eastern

BASH: Congressman, to follow up, there's a question about legalization of drugs, and I want to read what you said in 2009 at an El Paso city council meeting. You brought up ending the prohibition on narcotics in the U.S., and you said, "I think we need to have a serious discussion about doing that, and that may, in the end, be the right course of action." How do you explain to a mom like Angie why there should be a serious discussion about legalizing narcotics, which includes heroin?

O’ROURKE: In 2009, when I was on the El Paso city council, Ciudad Juarez, our sister city, was the deadliest place on the planet, bar none. Why? There was a drug war raging there in part to satisfy the appetite for illegal drugs in this country, in part due to our prohibitory incarceration first policy that had created such a premium on crossing those drugs that kids were literally willing to die or to kill one another for the privilege of crossing something here into the United States.

I thought we owed ourselves, as a country, our sister city of Ciudad Juarez, a conversation on the best way forward. Now, that resolution or that amendment that I offered was inartful at best. What I was trying to get to was marijuana, the cornerstone of the drug trade economy.

And to clarify the position, and anyone can look this up, Susie Byrd, my colleague on the city council and I wrote an entire book on the subject and what we focus on is marijuana policy from the perspective of the front lines of the drug war and communities like this one, and communities like El Paso, and talk about an approach that would reduce the problems that we have and improve the outcomes.

So, to be clear, I don't want to legalize narcotics. I do think we should end the prohibition on marijuana and effectively control and regulate its sale and make sure those who need it for medicinal purposes are able to obtain it through a prescription from their doctor.

(…)


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW
NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2018 Congressional Bias by Omission Double Standards Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Cable Television CNN Other CNN Video Dana Bash Ted Cruz Beto O'Rourke