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Beto O’Rourke, the former Democratic Congressman from Texas who gained national attention after narrowly losing a Senate bid to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in November, told Oprah Winfrey that he’s thinking about running for president and will make the decision before the end of February.
“I have been thinking about running for president,” O’Rourke said to a large round of applause at PlayStation Theater in New York City on Tuesday at a taping of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations.
Winfrey seemed intent on getting a definitive announcement, but O’Rourke said he’s still trying to figure out if he could “be that person” to unite a “deeply divided country.”
O’Rourke said the decision to run for president will ultimately be a joint one between him and his wife, Amy, and their three children.
“I think reconnecting with one another, remembering who we are, why we do what we do, making sure that whatever we do next we do in the strongest possible position as a family is the most important thing we can do,” O’Rourke told Winfrey. “Amy and I’ve talked about, ‘What are we going to be thinking about on our death beds, when we’re looking back at our lives?’ Will I be thinking about whether or not I ran for president when I had the opportunity? Or will the first thought be my kids and whether we were there for them and helped them to become good human beings on this planet? That’s the formula.”
After Winfrey called on O’Rourke’s wife in the audience — “Where’s Amy?” — O’Rourke flipped the presidency question on Winfrey, who’s faced speculation about a possible run since her moving speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globes.
“Many of the questions you have been asking me, people would like to know the answer from you,” he said.
Winfrey has said before that while the idea of running is interesting, God hasn’t called on her to do so.
“I do firmly believe it’s something you’ve got to feel inside of yourself, and you’ve got to come to it knowing inside yourself, you gotta hear that and feel that for yourself,” she told O’Rourke. “Not what everybody else says.”
The two also discussed how O’Rourke got over his Senate campaign loss, and where he stands on immigration and gun control.
“You seem like you’re getting ready to run,” Winfrey said before concluding the interview.
In addition to O’Rourke, the taping of Tuesday’s special — spun out from the Oprah Winfrey Network daytime show SuperSoul Sunday and the SuperSoul Conversations podcast — featured one-on-one conversations with Bradley Cooper, Michael B. Jordan, Melinda Gates and Lisa Borders about the impacts they’ve made in their respective fields.
Cooper, who took the stage after O’Rourke, expressed his support for the Texas politician. “I hope he runs,” he said. “We need inspiration.”
Winfrey’s SuperSoul Conversations will air Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. on OWN.
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