Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke denies leaving the scene of an accident in 1998, despite a police report saying otherwise.
O’Rourke was asked about the incident during his first debate with Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Friday night.
“I did not try to leave the scene of the accident, though driving drunk, which I did, is a terrible mistake for which there is no excuse or justification or defense,” O’Rourke said. “I can only tell you that I was able to have a second chance in my life.”
But O’Rourke’s comments appear to contradict the police reports published by the Houston Chronicle last month that claimed O’Rourke “attempted to leave the scene” after he lost control of his car and hit another vehicle in 1998.
The witness, who also called 911, reportedly “turned on his overhead lights to warn oncoming traffic and to try to get [O’Rourke] to stop,” the report continued.
This was the first time O’Rourke has challenged reports of the incident. Last month, he acknowledged that he “drove drunk and was arrested for DWI in 1998.” He didn’t deny he tried to flee the scene.
It’s probably not worth lying about, but O’Rourke is playing the kind of game that the left loves: never admit you’re wrong and deny everything. Put the burden of proof on the other guy and more often than not, you’ll end up a winner.
It’s doubtful O’Rourke would have accurately remembered anything given his inebriated state:
The officer went on to state that O’Rourke was visibly intoxicated and “unable to be understood due to slurred speech.”
O’Rourke recorded 0.136 and 0.134 blood alcohol levels on Breathalyzer tests, the records said. The state legal limit at the time was 0.10. The charges of DWI were later dismissed after he completed a court-approved diversion program, the Chronicle reported.
As for the debate itself, it was about as you’d expect: a Texas-style free-for-all with both candidates hammering each other early and often.
But Cruz definitely scored some haymakers on O’Rourke, who had carefully crafted an image of being “moderate” but was exposed by Cruz as a member of the loony left.
Cruz called his rival a socialist. O’Rourke depicted the senator as derelict in his duty to stand up to an out-of-control president.
“His focus seems to be on fighting for illegal immigrants and forgetting the millions of Americans — you know, Americans are dreamers also,” Cruz said as he and his challenger skirmished over the plight of young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.
O’Rourke shot back, pointing to Cruz’s support for a $30 billion border wall and his pursuit of policies that would entail rounding up and deporting 12 million people.
Not surprisingly, immigration was a flashpoint in the debate, with O’Rourke coming off as an open borders advocate:
O’Rourke called it morally right and economically smart to provide citizenship for “Dreamers” — and potentially for other unauthorized immigrants as well.
Cruz would deport the Dreamers, which economists say would impose billions in costs on the U.S. economy, O’Rourke said.
“We will gain hundreds of billions to the positive if we keep them here,” he said.
O’Rourke said he also favors a path to citizenship for adults who entered the country illegally.
Cruz boiled his immigration stance down to four words: “Legal good, illegal bad.”
The danger for Cruz is complacency among his supporters. With Donald Trump scheduled to appear with Cruz next month, it is hoped that it will generate enough enthusiasm among Cruz voters to offset the determination of O’Rourke supporters to unseat him.