CNN’s Kirsten Powers on Beto O’Rourke: U.S. ‘Very, Very Excited About White Men’

(INSET: Beto O'Rourke) NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: (L-R) National political reporter for NY Times Yamiche Alcindor, staff writer for NY Times Magazine Emily Bazelon and Kirsten Powers speak during NYT Mag Live: A Special Politics Edition at Neuehouse on October 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by …
Thos Robinson/Getty Images for New York Times, Jamie McCarthy/Getty
JOSHUA CAPLAN

CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers on Thursday lamented the media hype for former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s (D-TX) bid for president, saying Americans have a tendency of getting “very, very excited about white men.”

A partial transcript is as follows: 

JIM SCIUTTO: Looking at the big race, the national race, and O’Rourke made this clear, he said that Democrats kind of have to stick together, that there focus is on beating Donald Trump, and they should be in-fighting and so on. Beyond all the talk of, you know, how charming he is etcetera. Democrats and Republicans acknowledge this 2020 race is looking tighter than anyone acknowledges and likely to come down again to key swing states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, etcetera. Should that be the focus for Democratic candidates? Who’s going to win over those districts? Not Brooklyn, right, but who is going to win the districts that turned the race in 2016 and will likely turn it in 2020?

KIRSTEN POWERS: Well, I think you need to be focused on that, but you also have to be focused on turning out base voters, people who didn’t show up, who showed up for Obama, but then didn’t show up for Hillary. Ideally, you would have somebody who could appeal tp both of those groups of people and it’s not clear to me exactly what Beto’s plan is. It seems like its more in what you’re talking about there. But, I think that that’s shortsighted. Can I just say one thing though about what’s bothering me about this isn’t so much about what he’s doing, it’s what the media’s doing? So, the fact that he gets this Vanity fair cover and I feel like he is getting kind of this special treatment that is not proportionate to what he has done. He has had a big accomplishment, but so did Stacey Abrams. Let’s just point it out there, there are a lot of other candidates who accomplished a lot. It is not clear to me why he is on the cover of vanity fair and Kamala Harris isn’t.

POPPY HARLOW: I’m fascinated by that too. I want to know why do you think that is?

POWERS: Well, I think that there is still an issue in this country where people just get very, very excited about white men. I don’t know what the other explanation is, or I shouldn’t say white men. Men, I think, we saw the same thing with Barack Obama. And so the question is, I think, actually Kamala Harris is an incredibly charismatic, obviously, I think brilliant, and it’s not clear to me why Beto O’Rourke is getting, like I said, this kind of royal treatment that she’s not getting or frankly Stacy Abrams who is incredible.

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