Beto O’Rourke Tells Oprah He’s Thinking About Running for President, Will Decide by the End of the Month

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Beto O’Rourke has a big interview with Oprah Winfrey today in New York. The interview itself, part of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations from Times Square, was part of a live event that started at 2 p.m. Eastern today (he was part of the second half of the event, following an intermission.) The live event was only available to people who purchased tickets in advance. The interview will be broadcast on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network on Saturday, February 16 at 8 p.m. Eastern and will also air on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast at a later date.O’Rourke’s part of the Oprah event was in the second half, and just started around 5 p.m. Eastern. At one point he said to Oprah, “I’ve been thinking about running for President,” and the audience cheered. 

Beto clarified that he hasn’t decided for certain what he’s doing yet, but he’s going to talk with his family and make sure they’re on board before he makes a decision.

“I’m so excited at the prospect of being able to play that role,” he told Oprah. “I want to make sure my family is all on the same page. For me it will really be family that makes up my mind.

He will decide before the end of this month if he’s running, he told Oprah.

But he’s leaning toward yes.

Here are a few photos from his interview. The rest of the photos and updates are near the end of the story.

It seemed unlikely that Beto O’Rourke would announce he’s running for President today, since his interview with Oprah won’t be aired for the public to watch live. But the idea wasn’t impossible, since Tulsi Gabbard announced her decision to run for President during an interview on CNN, and the news was leaked the day before the interview aired. A former senior staffer for Beto O’Rourke told Katie Glueck of Politico that he did expect Oprah to ask O’Rourke about his future plans, which would be news by itself.

He didn’t announce, but he hinted strongly that he might and it all depended on his family. His interview with Oprah is a good venue for generating momentum in case he wants to run.  When Oprah endorsed Barack Obama in 2008, it was a big moment for his campaign. She also campaigned ahead of Stacey Abrams, who was less than 2 percentage points away from winning the election for Georgia governor. Now Abrams will be giving the Democrat response after Trump’s State of the Union address.

Read on for a recap and updates about Beto’s interview with Oprah. 

First, this photo of the program shows that he is speaking during the second-half, just before Bradley Cooper and after an intermission.

As of 3:30 p.m. Eastern, photos were shared of Oprah interviewing Melinda Gates. Then at 4:15 p.m., Oprah had just started her interview with Lia Borders. O’Rourke is after that, but not until after an intermission. So it might still be a while before Beto’s part. Somehave estimated that O’Rourke’s interview might not begin until around 5 p.m. Eastern.

One person did spot him in the crowd though:

A couple people clapped when O’Rourke first entered the room and took his seat:

And here’s a photo of O’Rourke arriving for the interview:

During his interview with Oprah, she started out by saying that she wanted to see if he was “the real deal,” talking about what a political phenomenon he was.

Evan Halper from the LA Times said there were big cheers in the audience when they showed a video of Beto talking about NFL players’ kneeling.

When asked about his loss in Texas, Beto said: “I don’t believe the agency to achieve our dreams is outside us. I know we could have won that race.”

He did acknowledge that he could have done something different.

He told Oprah that when he was running for Senate, he didn’t see the vilification and animosity that is so prevalent in the news.

He told Oprah he was “profoundly” disappointed when he didn’t win because he felt like he had let so many people down.

The only way to get out of that funk, he said, was to focus on others and not himself. That was a big part of the reason he went on his road trip.

That’s when Beto told Oprah, “I’ve been thinking about running for President.” The crowd cheered in response.

O’Rourke then said that his ultimate decision would be based on his family’s opinion. He’s excited about the idea, but it’s really all about them, and he will decide by the end of the month.

O’Rourke’s full interview will air on February 16 on OWN at 8 p.m. Eastern.