Willie Nelson’s New Song ‘Vote Em Out’ Debuts at Turn Out For Texas With Beto O’Rourke
Mark R Lambie, El Paso Times
AUSTIN — Nearly 8,000 people on Sunday night watched Beto O’Rourke film his campaign’s latest advertisement live on Facebook.
The Democrat, who is challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, recorded his advertisement in four takes, asking viewers to share comments and react to his remarks.
“We have decided that we are going to make this about and for the future, because the future of the people are depending on us,” O’Rourke said in the video.
Supporters familiar with O’Rourke’s live Facebook videos, which are a staple of his campaign, may have been surprised by Sunday’s video. The iPhone video quality usually present in his videos was replaced with a professional camera — for the purposes of shooting the ad, O’Rourke said.
His first attempt came in at 39 seconds (his goal was 30 seconds) and O’Rourke make notes on camera.
“I’ve got to cut some stuff out,” O’Rourke said in the video, addressing campaign staff standing off screen.
He took a breath and tried again.
“Now we can be defined by our fears and who we are supposed to be afraid of or we can be known by our ambitions and our aspirations,” O’Rourke says in the video. “I’m confident that when we see each other not as Democrats or Republicans but as Texans, as Americans, as human beings, there’s no stopping us.”
“I’m Beto O’Rourke and I approve this message,” he says at the end of the ad.
Emily Miller, a spokeswoman for Cruz’s campaign, commented on the video feed and criticized O’Rourke for shooting the advertisements instead of meeting Cruz for a debate.
“Beto O’Rourke could have done debate right now in Houston and talked to millions of Texans,” she wrote. “Instead he’s doing this video to viewers from California, Boston, Florida, etc. Which is better for Texans?”
Cruz and O’Rourke were scheduled to debate Sunday at the University of Houston, but the event was postponed on Friday when it looked like the U.S. Senate would vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
After the vote was moved, Cruz’s team offered to proceed with Sunday’s debate as scheduled but O’Rourke’s team declined.
Chris Evans, a spokesman for O’Rourke’s campaign, said Saturday that they made alternative plans after the debate was canceled.
“On Thursday, (Cruz’s campaign) delivered a very direct message to both parties saying that he would absolutely not be in Houston on Sunday for the debate,” Evans said in an interview. “At that moment, the university changed their plans and we changed our plans.”
Madlin Mekelburg is a reporter with the USA Today Network Austin Bureau; she may be reached at 512-479-6606; firstname.lastname@example.org; @madlinbmek on Twitter.
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