CBS This Morning's Gayle King on Friday devoted almost 12 minutes of air time to Beto O’Rourke in an “exclusive” interview promoting his 2020 presidential launch. At times, the liberal co-host offered some tough questions, repeatedly questioning the Democrat on being a “loser” in Texas. But she also delivered some criticism from the left, suggesting O'Rourke might just be too “white” for the current Democratic Party.
Speaking of the 12 other Democratic candidates, the Obama donor and family friend demanded to know: “There are more women and more people of color than ever before. Some could say it's the way the party is leaning. That maybe the voters are signaling that's the candidate we want.” King added, “Do you feel at a disadvantage as a white man? As a privileged white man, they say about you?”
Hitting 2020 Democrats from the left may be King's preferred type of hardball. While questioning candidate Kirsten Gillibrand earlier this month, she suggested that the liberal senator had “betrayed” the Clintons by speaking out against Bill Clinton‘s treatment of Monica Lewinsky.
To her credit though, King was tougher with O'Rourke than she usually is with top Democrats. She repeatedly pressed the former Congressman on being a “loser”:
I've heard Beto O'Rourke be described as a “star” and Beto O'Rourke described as a “loser” in the same sentence. “Star” because look what he did in the Texas with that race. You came to within three points in a deep red state. “Loser” because at the end of the day he lost the race. What do you say to that? He couldn't win in his own state, how can we win the country?
Shockingly, after O’Rourke bragged about a “larger,” moral victory in his failed bid to unseat Ted Cruz, King followed-up: “So, where's the ‘loser’ part of the sentence?”
The co-host managed basic journalistic questions, such as what O’Rourke actually would do as president:
GAYLE KING: Taxes. You planning to raise taxes on the wealthy?
BETO O’ROURKE: Yes.
KING: How much?
The total interview ran for 11 minutes and 48 seconds. Perhaps King is simply holding out hope for a presidential bid from her friend (and fellow liberal) Oprah Winfrey?
Transcripts of King’s questions can be found below. Click “expand” to read more:
CBS This Morning
7:31 a.m. Eastern
GAYLE KING: Beto O'Rourke is the latest Democrat to join the presidential race. He begins day two of his three-day tour through Iowa this morning. We met the former Texas Congressman and a Senate candidate at a coffee shop as he finished his third stop in Iowa yesterday. He spoke with us across the street at an art gallery. The name of the gallery, we should point out, is the Art Center of Burlington. Very nice people there. So this was his first TV interview since announcing his campaign. We talk about why he decided to run, his plans to tackle health care, and why he thinks his limited government experience does not affect his chances. Day one, 600 days to go until election day. We actually counted. Why you, why now?
KING: But as you know, the criticism has already started. Three-term congressman, no real legislation in his own name, lack of experience. I think even the Texas Tribune said “paper-thin record.” Why shouldn't voters be concerned about voting for you with your lack of experience?
KING: So for many people, Beto, who are just looking at you for the first time, I just want to hit the issues. Health care, we all agree, everybody wants affordable health care. You intends to do that how?
KING: Are you for the Medicare for all?
BETO O’ROURKE: I think Medicare for all is one of the possible paths. I think the fastest way to get there is to ensure that people who have insurance through their employer are able to keep it and that we complement that with those who can purchase medicare, be covered by Medicaid.
KING: Taxes, you planning to raise taxes on the wealthy?
KING: How much?
KING: You said if you are elected your cabinet will look like America.
KING: What does that mean and why is it important to you?
KING: You had said earlier that you thought President Trump should be impeached. Do you still feel that way?
KING: Because you know Speaker Pelosi does not think that's the way to go at this particular time.
[Back in the studio.]
KING: Listen, he's candidate number 13 that enters the race. In this case, he does not think 13 is an unlucky number. He is the only candidate who lives in a border city. He said, “Listen, our nation is successful not in spite of immigrants but because of immigrants.” And that’s one of the reasons he says El Paso is a safe city. And his thoughts on a border wall. He want from no border wall whatsoever to “There should be something, but we have to figure out exactly what that is.” But he is not in favor of a big, massive border wall.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: One of the criticisms he’s received is that he hasn't been giving specifics so it's important that you ask specifically about his thoughts specifically on health care and Medicare for all. He really addressed that. In many ways, we haven’t heard from him yet.
KING: No, he was very specific. Listen, he was very popular in Iowa. People really wanted to see him. They shouted out questions. He was very specific in all of has answers. I think he had a good day in Iowa yesterday. That will continue for the next two days he hopes.
8:33 a.m. Eastern
5 minutes and 35 seconds
KING: Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke made his name as a national Democrat in Texas last year when he nearly unseated Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Lost by three percentage points. The two opponents appeared on 60 Minutes just days before the election. At the time O’Rourke insisted he would not run for president in 2020. No matter what he said. We asked him about changing his mind and how he's already been mocked by the President. President Trump has already weighed in on your candidacy. He said this about you. “He's got a lot of hand movement. Is he crazy, or is that just the way he acts?” You do have a lot of hand movement. I'm not saying that's good or bad. A lot of hand movements.
O’ROURKE: I'm pretty animated.
KING: I call that passion.
O’ROURKE: I remember when we were campaigning in Texas. Someone pulled me aside and said, I want to give you free advice. You move around too much when you talk.
O’ROURKE: I am who I am.
KING: I've heard Beto O'Rourke be described as a "star" and Beto O'Rourke described as a "loser" in the same sentence. "Star" because look what he did in the Texas with that race. You came to within three points in a deep red state. Loser because at the end of the day he lost the race. What do you say to that? He couldn't win in his own state, how can we win the country?
KING: So, where's the “loser” part of the sentence?
KING: In this particular — with the Democratic candidates — there are more women and more people of color than ever before. Some could say it's the way the party is leaning. That maybe the voters are signaling that's the candidate we want. Do you feel at a disadvantage as a white man? As a privileged white man they say about you?
KING: I really want to say, Beto, why you feel strongly you are the one. When you sat down and said in your heart of hearts, “You know, I want this job.”
KING: I'm curious about your family decision. Because after the 60 Minutes interview — I know everybody has a right to change their mind — you were so adamant about I'm not going to do it. The family would not survive. Henry, your youngest said, "I would cry every day if you run for the presidency." So, what changed for you and the family?