A student at Penn State University put the screws to Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Tuesday during a campaign stop, asking the failed Senate candidate, “When am I going to get an actual policy from you instead of just platitudes and stories?”
O’Rourke made the campaign stop after The Washington Post brought to light a series of embarrassing stories from his past, including claims that O’Rourke literally ate dirt after he lost his Senate race last year to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and previously put his child’s poop into a bowl and tried to convince his wife it was an avocado.
The student grilled O’Rourke on campaign finance issues surrounding his campaign and then asked him when he planned on giving actual details on policy proposals.
O’Rourke responded by noting that he is running on reforming the criminal justice system, legalizing marijuana, and imposing government-run health care.
Last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked to identify O’Rourke’s “signature accomplishment as a member of the House” and was unable to give a response.
The only bill that O’Rourke sponsored or co-sponsored during his time as a member of the House of Representatives was a bill that designated “the federal building and U.S. courthouse located at 511 East San Antonio Avenue in El Paso, Texas, as the ‘R. E. Thomason Federal Building and United States Courthouse.'”
Full transcript of the interaction:
Student: So, my question has to deal with campaign finance. You recently pulled in $6.1 million dollars. … You broke all records, which I guess is pretty good. But, my concern is how much of that is coming from a process that’s called bundling. For those of you who don’t know, bundling is a process in which political activists and people in the private sector and lobbyists go to wealthy multi-millionaires and billionaires and basically tell them to give the maximum amount, which is normally anywhere from $2700 to $5600, and basically sort of use it to overinflate a campaigner’s, you know, their first day totals. For example, just one thousand people giving the maximum $5600 that’s $5.6 million right off the bat. Your campaign has not released the number of individual donors you have, nor has it released the average donation.
Now, I’m not accusing you of that, but the fact that your campaign is currently working with notorious mega-bundler Louis Sussman gives me a bit of a clue. In addition, when we look on your website, we don’t really see anything in terms of a solid platform or policies. It’s mostly just platitudes. So I guess two-pronged question: One, are you going to release the number of individual donors and your average donor donation? Because I know your campaign has that data and if you didn’t you’d be running a pretty incompetent campaign and I don’t think you are. You seem like you have yourself together, mostly. And two, when am I going to get an actual policy from you instead of just platitudes and stories?
O’Rourke: So the answer to your first question is, yes, in addition to how much we raised, the fact that we raised from all 50 states, the fact we took not a dime from a single PAC or lobbyist, we will release the average and the number of donors. Your second question about policy, I’m going to try to be as specific as I can. I mentioned our criminal justice system. I’ve called for the end of the prohibition on marijuana and the expungement of the arrest records of everyone who’s been arrested for marijuana. We talked about healthcare, universal guaranteed high-quality healthcare. […] To extraordinary women in which I’ve served in Congress, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Rosa Delauro of Connecticut, have introduced a proposal called “Medicare for America,” that ensures that if you have employer-based insurance, and you like it, you keep it, your doctors, your network, what works for you right now. If you don’t have insurance or you don’t like the insurance you already have, you enroll in Medicare.