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Beto O’Rourke acknowledges ‘privileges’ afforded to him because of race and gender

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By Ben Kamisar

WASHINGTON — Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said that he’s been afforded “privileges” in his life because of his race and gender but insisted that his presidential bid can be used as a way to level the playing field for all Americans.

“As a white man who has had privileges that others could not depend on, or take for granted, I’ve clearly had advantages over the course of my life,” O’Rourke told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd during a campaign swing through Iowa on Saturday.

“I think recognizing that and understanding that others have not — doing everything I can to ensure that there is opportunity and the possibility for advancement and advantage for everyone — is a big part of this campaign and a big part of the people who comprise this campaign.”

O’Rourke, a Democrat from Texas, addressed the question in light of some criticism that he has benefited from a double standard in the early days of campaigning, given the large amount of attention his entry into the crowded field has received.

The former congressman went on to praise his fellow Democratic presidential hopefuls as part of the “best field that we’ve ever seen in the nominating process,” calling the “diversity of background, and experience, expertise” a key asset for Democrats.

But he also pointed to his own experience as proof that he can stand out among a field that includes politicians with far more experience.

“I also happen to be the only candidate from the United States-Mexico border at a time that that dominates so much of our national conversation and legislative efforts and the things that the president talks about. There’s one candidate who’s there who can talk about the profoundly positive impact that immigrants have had on our safety and our security, as well as our success and our strength,” he said.

And he said his narrow loss in last year’s senate race in Texas offers evidence that he can broaden the presidential playing field for Democrats.

“I ran for statewide office in what was thought to be a red state, and that state is now in play by most people’s estimation,” he said. “So there are some things, perhaps, that, you know, will be different about this candidacy, from the candidacy of others.”

While O’Rourke is the only candidate who grew up along the southern border, other candidates have made immigration a central plank of their candidacies.

Julián Castro, who served as mayor of San Antonio, Texas, regularly evokes his grandmother’s story of emigrating from Mexico as an orphan as both a foundational part of his background and also to inform his views on immigration policy.

O’Rourke announced his presidential bid in earnest last Thursday, although he had been teasing the possibility of running for months.

He burst on the national scene after running a stronger than expected challenge to Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, shattering fundraising records and quickly building a brand among Democrats.

And while he swore off the prospect of running for president just days before Election Day in 2018, he quickly made it clear he was open to running just weeks after.

Issues revolving around race, gender and double standards have been key topics facing Democratic candidates among the historically diverse field of candidates.

One debate has been over the question of government reparations to the families descended from slaves.

O’Rourke was asked about his stance on reparations during a house party in Iowa, where he spoke about the importance of addressing systemic racism but didn’t endorse a specific plan.

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is also running for president, addressed the question during a Saturday interview with “Meet the Press” also from her campaign swing through Iowa.

“I believe we have to invest in those communities that has been so hurt by racism. It doesn’t have to be a direct pay for each person,” she said.

“But what we can do is, in those communities, acknowledge what happened. And that means better education. That means looking at for our whole economy: community college, one-year degrees, minimum wage, childcare, making sure that we have that shared dream of opportunity for all Americans.”



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Trump urges ‘bring back’ Jeanine Pirro after host pulled off air following anti-Muslim comments

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By Allan Smith

President Donald Trump called on Fox News to keep host Jeanine Pirro on the air after she didn’t appear for her regularly scheduled Saturday night program following her anti-Muslim comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., a week ago.

“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro,” Trump tweeted. “The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.”

Fox News “must stay strong and fight back with vigor,” Trump added.

“Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country,” he said. “The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die!”

Trump told Fox News to “stay true to the people that got you there.”

“Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine,” he said. “Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!”

Pirro suggested last week that Omar’s religion was antithetical to the Constitution.

“Think about it: Omar wears a hijab,” Pirro said. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

Fox News issued a rare condemnation of Pirro after her remarks, which caused several companies to pull advertisements from her show, “Justice with Judge Jeanine.” Pirro said in a statement that she was just trying to “ask a question and start a debate.”

“Of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution,” she said. “I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”

A Fox News spokesperson declined to comment to NBC News about why Pirro’s show did not air, saying “We’re not commenting on internal scheduling matters.” The spokesperson also did not comment on Trump’s tweets.

Pirro is one of Trump’s staunchest cable news defenders. The president’s tweets come just days after an avowed neo-Nazi allegedly killed 50 at two New Zealand mosques, which the president condemned. Asked Friday if he felt there was a growing threat of white nationalism across the globe, with this massacre following a white nationalist killing spree at a Pittsburgh synagogue late last year, Trump responded, “I don’t really,” adding, “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

Trump’s mention of Fox News host Tucker Carlson is in reference to therecent unearthing of comments he made on shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio show between 2006 and 2011, causing companies to pull advertising from Carlson’s show. The liberal activist group Media Matters for America released recordings of Carlson’s remarks, in which he said Iraq is populated by “semi-literate primitive monkeys,” that women are “extremely primitive,” and that a Democratic presidential candidate would cruise to election in 2008 if they promised to kill as many “lunatic Muslims” as possible.

Carlson, who joined the network in 2009, did not apologize for the comments, saying, “If you want to know what I think, you can watch” his weeknight program. “Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why,” he continued.

Fox News said in a statement that it stands by Carlson.

“We cannot and will not allow voices like Tucker Carlson to be censored by agenda-driven intimidation efforts from the likes of Moveon.org, Media Matters and Sleeping Giants,” the company said in an emailed statement.



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No deal Brexit tracker: What is happening with Brexit? Could UK still leave with NO DEAL?

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BREXIT is still due to go ahead in less than two weeks, and despite recent developments in Parliament, no deal is still an option. Here is everything you need to know.

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BREXIT FARCE: Redwood insists UK MUST leave on March 29 for THIS reason

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BRITAIN should not seek an extension to Article 50 and prolong its membership with the European Union as the UK continued uncertainty would be devastating for business, according to Tory MP John Redwood.

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