Beto O'Rourke says he'll announce 2020 decision by month's end

By Caroline Linton

/ CBS News

Beto O'Rourke talks to Oprah

Beto O'Rourke said Tuesday he would announce his decision on a potential 2020 presidential run "by the end of the month." In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he admitted he's "increasingly excited by doing something."

O'Rourke, a Democrat who ran a high-profile longshot campaign against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, has captured the national attention despite losing. He told "60 Minutes" shortly before the election that he was "completely ruling out" running for president for 2020, but he has since become more open to the idea.

He hasn't taken the traditional path of a person considering running for president. Instead of going to the early primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina, he's taken a road-trip that he posted about on Medium. A social media phenomenon during the campaign, after the election, O'Rourke posted a video on Instagram about trips to the dentist and other random encounters.

Other high-profile Democrats, such as Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris, have already announced they are running for president.

O'Rourke said Tuesday that he felt a "profound disappointment in myself, that I had let so many people down" after the November election. The interview was a taping for Winfrey's program "Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations from Times Square."

Winfrey tried several times to get him to announce his 2020 plans, but O'Rourke insisted it was a decision he would make with his family. "Where's Amy?" Winfrey asked about O'Rourke's wife.

Do Democrats like Beto O'Rourke for 2020?

One thing he has done in the past few months: Meet with former President Barack Obama. O'Rourke has been a Democratic congressman since 2012, but he said he had only limited interactions with Mr. Obama during that time.

O'Rourke said Mr. Obama did not necessarily "encourage" him to run, but they discussed a 2020 run in more general terms. He said he and Mr. Obama also talked about the strain a run for president can be on a family.

O'Rourke noted how surreal it is that he has gone from an unknown congressman to a political rockstar.

"Even saying these words, it's hard to believe that I met with Barack Obama and I'm saying it to Oprah Winfrey," O'Rourke said.

"You seem like you're getting ready to run," Winfrey answered.

Winfrey's special will air on OWN on February 16. Other guests included Bradley Cooper (who came on after O'Rourke), Michael B. Jordan, Melinda Gates and Lisa Borders, the president and CEO of Time's Up.

First published on February 5, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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