The journalists at CNN on Monday were dazzled by Beto O’Rourke’s habit of apologizing. The CNN on-screen graphic offered a “style contrast,” noting, “O’Rourke Keeps Apologizing, Trump Never Does.” Talking about the 2020 Democrat’s apologizes for “white privilege” as well as for making a self-deprecating joke about raising kids, CNN national political reporter Maeve Reston cheered, “Beto O’Rourke’s audience love that he’s constantly reflecting, telling people what’s in his head. That is his strength.”
She touted, “They want to hear him apologize, say how his views is changed. And I think people will give him a chance. You do hear that from Democratic voters over and over again.” Speaking primary voters, Reston complimented, “People have an open mind right now, open ears.”
Host Brooke Baldwin compared, “Juxtapose that with the President who taunts, never apologizes.” Earlier on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell gushed to another 2020 Democrat: How will you deal with a press following Beto “like a magnet.”
BROOKE BALDWIN: Beto O’Rourke says in the first 24 hours of his campaign, the former Texas Congressman raised $6.1 million in online contributions. That surpasses the record, the fund-raising record haul of Senator Bernie Sanders during his day one. This, as CNN is learning that former Vice President Joe Biden is strategizing how he may — emphasis on may — announce his bid and seize campaign of this very crowded field of Democrats. So, with me now, CNN political reporter Maeve Reston. And Maeve, first of all, oh, my gosh. $6.1 million in the first 21 hours is not nothing. But, number two, who knows where Joe Biden is here and here? [Touches her head and heart.] But what do you think he’s thinking knowing that this guy Beto O’Rourke out of Texas has raised 6.1 million?
MAEVE RESTON (CNN national political reporter): Well, it’s such an interesting point, Brooke. Because we haven’t seen how Joe Biden is going to do with small numbers in a long time. And he must be looking at these numbers just like other strategists are at the other campaigns saying, “How are we going to compete with this? How are we going to get all of these small donors to get behind our bid? Because clearly that is a daunting haul that the former Vice President is looking at. And matched up against Bernie Sanders, I mean, these two guys have shown the ability to really connect with everyday Americans that they can come back to over and over again for these small dollar donations. But we also have to remember it was the first 24 hours. So, Beto has had a lot of issues that have come up over the weekend. And I think a lot of people are watching to see how his campaign looks as he goes through this minefield.
BALDWIN: Well, let’s talk about those issue. Because, first of all, I was reading my action Axios in my inbox. And Mike Allen put it this way: “Get ready for the most politically correct and the most politically incorrect election of our lifetime. And case in point, Beto O’Rourke apologizing for comments he made about his wife raising kids and for comments about white male privilege and for comments he made about Vanity Fair about, you know, being born do this. Let’s listen to him.
CNN GRAPHIC: Style Contrast: O’Rourke Keeps Apologizing, Trump Never Does.
BETO O’ROURKE: It’s absolutely valid criticism and it’s constructive criticism. It’s already made me a better candidate. Not only I not say that again, but I’ll be much more thoughtful going forward in the way that I talk about our marriage and also the way in which I acknowledge the truth of the criticism that I have enjoyed white privilege. Absolutely. Undeniable. I’m mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed, but I have to take ownership of my words and understand that the way they make people feel when they read them now.
BALDWIN: Juxtapose that with the president who taunts, never apologizes. So to Mike Allen’s bigger point about politically incorrect or correct, what do you think is the winning strategy?
RESTON: These two men are talking to distinctly different audiences. That works for Trump because the people who support him love that about him, that he never apologizes, that he doesn’t talk about terrorist attacks if he doesn’t feel like it. You know, Beto O’Rourke’s audience love that he’s constantly reflecting, telling people what’s in his head. That is his strength, and that was a really strong answer right there, I think, right there. They want to hear him apologize, say how his views is changed. And I think people will give him a chance. You do hear that from Democratic voters over and over again. We’ve seen other candidates, like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren apologizing for things in his past. People have an open mind right now, open ears. They want to hear who these people are and so far he’s done a pretty good job of showing as people that. As shocking as some of his early writings may have been.