Accuracy in Media

CNN anchor Brianna Keilar wasn’t impressed with potential Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s performance in a recent interview with The Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson in which he struggled to answer questions on key issues.

On Wednesday’s edition of CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar, she discussed O’Rourke’s potential bid with CNN political director David Chalian and complimented the “homemade” nature of a video produced by a Draft Beto 2020 group.

But the compliments ended there as Keilar switched to the Post interview which was not one of O’Rourke’s better performances.

“He was asked how he would handle immigrants who overstay their Visas, and he said ‘I don’t know’,” Keilar said. “On withdrawing troops from Syria, he said there may be a good reason, but he doesn’t necessarily understand. He seemed to be passing on a lot of stuff, the Constitution, he questioned whether a 230-year-old document can be used as a guide for today’s issues, especially international issues.

“Is he ready?” Keilar asked Chalian. “I mean, you have to be able to have something of substance and have formed opinions on these things.”

Chalian responded that Democratic primary voters will have to answer the question of is O’Rourke ready for prime time, adding that we’ve seen that question asked before with Barack Obama in 2007.

Chalian suggested that O’Rourke is “trying to preserve as much flexibility as possible, be a blank canvas,” telling Keilar that she is right to question his readiness because of the way he handled the interview and added that  “you better believe that is going to raise questions in Democratic circles of does he have what it takes? And only Beto O’Rourke is going to be able to answer that in future interviews with how he conducts himself.”

“It’s a fine line to walk between being a blank canvas and an empty vessel, right, as someone will accuse you of being,” Keilar told Chalian then clarifying that she wasn’t calling him an empty vessel.

O’Rourke narrowly lost his bid to defeat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in November and his social media persona has catapulted him into the 2020 presidential discussion though as the Post interview showed, he is severely lacking for details on key issues which will handicap his efforts to become a serious candidate.

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