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Beto O'Rourke raises $6 million in first 24 hours of campaign as Republicans crank up attacks

Beto O'Rourke raises $6 million in first 24 hours of campaign as Republicans crank up attacksWord travels fast through the corn fields of Iowa - and the word among Democrats is that Beto O’Rourke could be the real thing. After launching his White House bid last week the Texan, light on policy but long on charm, has beguiled and dazzled voters at cafes, bars, and other small venues across the state, which is the first to vote in the 2020 primaries. "He's Obamaish," said Jenny Turner, 38, a Republican voter who stopped in at an O'Rourke event to see what all the fuss was about. "I saw every Republican candidate in 2016 and this guy's better than all of them," she said. “He's something else, more likeable. He looked me straight in the eye and he really connected. Yes, he can win.” On Monday it was revealed that the O'Rourke campaign raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after his announcement, outstripping all other Democrat candidates.  Reactions like that are why Republican operatives in Iowa have Mr O’Rourke at the top of their list to be torpedoed early. Anti-O’Rourke TV adverts, the first against a 2020 Democrat contender, have already launched. The Republican answer to the “Beto problem” is an unexpected one. Rather than painting the skateboarding former punk rock guitarist, as a dangerous radical, the adverts instead describe him as a man "dripping in white male privilege”. The 2020 presidential candidate gesticulates enthusiastically as he speaks to a crowd in Iowa Credit: Reuters He is from a "blue blood pedigree,” educated at a  private boarding school, and his father-in-law, a billionaire property developer, "bought" him a seat in Congress, it is claimed. When he fled the scene of a drunk-driving crash, he got away with it because he was white and rich. The allegations, which will dog Mr O’Rourke, 46, for the next year, are aimed at driving a wedge between the candidate and the liberal primary voters he will need to win the Democrat nomination. For Republicans there is a sense of urgency because if Mr O’Rourke becomes the Democrat nominee, then his native Texas, the biggest Republican state, could turn blue for the first time in decades. Without Texas, Donald Trump almost certainly cannot win re-election. There is substance to this Republican depiction of Mr O'Rourke. He is far from the left-wing firebrand some might have expected. During six years in Congress his voting record put him in the most moderate 25 per cent of Democrats. With socialism all the rage in progressive circles he proudly declares himself a capitalist, and he has been evasive on committing to a government-run healthcare system. Those are positions that went down well in the tiny Iowa town of Washington, where a "Make America Great Again" banner welcomes visitors in the main square. Voters in the area went for Mr Trump by 20 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Speaking in a tiny art gallery, surrounded by paintings of corn fields, Mr O’Rourke delcared himself a "unifier" who could work with both parties. In a hyperbolic, and sometimes contradictory, speech he vowed to save the world from climate change, while also empathising with business owners. O'Rourke stands on a pick-up truck to speak to an audience of 200 on his plans for healthcare and education Credit: Xinhua/Barcroft Images He hailed US victory in the Second World War, and called for it to “reassert global leadership,” but also admitted to having voted against more funding for the military when he was a congressman. Then he misquoted Sir Winston Churchill. It didn’t matter, his audience applauded anyway. All the while Mr O’Rourke bobbed up and down on his toes, accepting questions by saying "Right on, right on" and flashing what some have described as his “Kennedy smile”. Mr O’Rourke is one of the most gesticulative politicians ever to take to the stump. When he talks his hands flail around wildly. On occasion he resembles a human windmill. If he gets particularly enthused - which is often - he raises an arm and appears to dunk an imaginary basketball. Whatever he says, he is difficult not to watch. While he was talking, and gesticulating, in Washington the first real scandal of his candidacy emerged. The Reuters news agency reported that he had once been part of a notorious computer hacking group called the “Cult of the Dead Cow”. Speaking outside the art gallery, in the deserted, windswept town square, Mr O'Rourke admitted it was true. He told The Telegraph: “Yeah, stuff I was part of as a teenager is not anything that I’m proud of today, that’s the long and short of it. It was something I was a part of in El Paso a long, long time ago.” O'Rourke told the Telegraph he was 'not proud' of his days in a hackers collective as a young man Credit: AFP Could it hurt him with centrist voters? "It could,” he admitted, nodding. "I can't control anything that I've done in the past, only what I do going forward. What I plan to do is give this my best. I will work with everything I’ve got. It’s going to be largest grassroots campaign this country has ever seen." Given his position towards the right of the party Mr O'Rourke may end up competing for the same moderate Democrat primary voters as Joe Biden. The Texan said he thought "very highly" of Mr Biden, but believes he would do a better job in the White House. "I do absolutely, yeah," he said. "I've got a history of running a (internet software) business, meeting a payroll week in week out, working in Congress across the aisle." Asked if he thought Mr Trump should be impeached, he was more forthright than other Democrats. He said: "You're asking me has the president committed impeachable offences? Yes. Period.” Mr O’Rourke’s foreign policy agenda has yet to be fleshed out. When asked about Brexit the candidate said he had "no position" but appeared to oppose it. He told the Telegraph: "I think it's in the world’s interest to strengthen our alliances and our partnerships. “I think the more breakups we see the more isolations we face and the harder it’s going to be for us to face our common challenges." He dismissed suggestions that his policies lack detail, saying part of the purpose of the campaign was to listen to citizens and hear their ideas. "If you have all the answers already then why show up," he said, then flashed a particularly Kennedyesque smile.

POSTED MARCH 18, 2019 7:25 AM

New Zealand attack plays into jihadist hands: experts

New Zealand attack plays into jihadist hands: expertsWhite supremacist Brenton Tarrant, who is accused of killing 50 people in the New Zealand mosque massacre in what he claimed was a blow against Muslim "invaders", played into jihadist hands by following their strategy, experts say. From the Islamic State (IS) group to Al-Qaeda, jihadist groups aim to deepen divisions between Muslims and the rest of the world in an apparent aim to trigger all-out war between "believers" and "unbelievers". "The Christchurch attack was a blessing for Daesh," said Alain Chouet, a former senior French intelligence official, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

POSTED MARCH 18, 2019 2:47 PM

Why an unbuilt Moscow Trump tower caught Mueller's attention

Why an unbuilt Moscow Trump tower caught Mueller's attentionFurther information has come from Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer who was instrumental in the negotiations, in congressional testimony and in his guilty plea to a charge of lying to Congress about the project. Mueller's team said in a December 2018 court filing that "the Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government. If the project was completed, the Company (the Trump Organization) could have received hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues." The project is significant because it shows Trump was chasing a lucrative business deal in Russia at the same time that President Vladimir Putin's government, according to U.S. intelligence agencies, was conducting a hacking and propaganda campaign to boost his candidacy.

POSTED MARCH 18, 2019 7:18 AM

Pence heads to flooded Midwest amid concerns about levees

Pence heads to flooded Midwest amid concerns about leveesKANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence was expected to visit the Midwest on Tuesday to view flooding caused by heavy rains and snowmelt that damaged hundreds of homes and inundated tens of thousands of acres with water.

POSTED MARCH 19, 2019 1:43 PM

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS Will Be the Most Expensive Car Built in America

The Mercedes-Maybach GLS Will Be the Most Expensive Car Built in AmericaMercedes has confirmed plans for an ultra-luxurious Maybach version of the upcoming third-gen GLS.

POSTED MARCH 18, 2019 2:20 PM

Kansas City Chiefs star Tyreek Hill was reportedly being investigated for incidents of battery against his 3-year-old

Kansas City Chiefs star Tyreek Hill was reportedly being investigated for incidents of battery against his 3-year-oldKansas City Chiefs star Tyreek Hill was reportedly being investigated for incidents of battery against his 3-year-old son. The investigation reportedly comes after Hill’s fiancee, Crystal Espinal, filed multiple police reports where their three-year-old son was listed as the victim.

POSTED MARCH 18, 2019 11:47 AM

The Porsche Taycan EV Is Coming into Clearer Focus

The Porsche Taycan EV Is Coming into Clearer Focus

POSTED MARCH 18, 2019 1:10 PM

New Zealand's biggest online classifieds site bans sale of semi-automatic guns

New Zealand's biggest online classifieds site bans sale of semi-automatic gunsIn the aftermath of the Christchurch terrorist attack, New Zealand is looking to step up on gun control.It's led to the country's biggest online marketplace, Trade Me, stopping the sale of semi-automatic firearms until it receives further instruction from the government.SEE ALSO: Facebook has removed 1.5 million videos of the New Zealand shooting, but questions remain"We have listened to public sentiment following Friday's terrorist attack in Christchurch and decided to remove all semi-automatic firearms sales and parts associated with those weapons today," Trade Me's statement reads.The company said it would aim to remove listings for semi-automatic firearms by the end of Monday. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pledged that the country's gun laws "will change" following the tragedy, and said on Monday she would start discussing the issue within the government."Rightly ... people are asking the question 'why is it that someone with a firearms licence in New Zealand can obtain a military-style semi-automatic weapon?'" Ardern told Radio NZ.The New Zealand Police Association has backed the action on the country's gun laws."Jacinda Ardern has said emphatically that New Zealand's gun laws will change and that now is the time for that change," Police Association president Chris Cahill said in a statement online."I absolutely agree with her and I believe many New Zealanders will be aghast that in our country someone can amass a cache of weapons like that discovered in this Christchurch tragedy."Unlike neighbouring Australia, whose famously strong gun policy resulted in a ban on semi-automatic firearms, New Zealand allows private possession, as long as the owner is approved by police and licensed. As per, New Zealand has double the guns per person than Australia, and the number of privately-owned guns is estimated to be at 1.5 million. There have also been calls for a gun register, which isn't required in New Zealand for most firearms, according to the BBC. WATCH: Delete Facebook says WhatsApp co-founder

POSTED MARCH 17, 2019 11:14 PM

China Considers Excluding Boeing 737 Max From Trade Deal

China Considers Excluding Boeing 737 Max From Trade DealBoeing jets were featured on a draft list of American products China would buy to reduce its trade surplus with the U.S., the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Now, safety concerns are pushing China to examine whether to cut the 737 Max from the list altogether or replace it with other Boeing models after the crash of a plane operated by Ethiopian Airlines led to the aircraft being grounded worldwide, they said.

POSTED MARCH 19, 2019 5:00 PM

Biggest obstacle to passage of Green New Deal? Democratic lawmakers

Biggest obstacle to passage of Green New Deal? Democratic lawmakersDemocrats agree that climate change needs to be addressed. Pronto. But they're divided on if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' Green New Deal is the answer.

POSTED MARCH 18, 2019 12:26 PM

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