Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke, when he was first running for his seat back in 2012, was apparently much more fiscally conservative than the Beto who is running for president today, according to a CNN report.
CNN's Andrew Kaczynski and Paul LeBlanc found, through various old interviews, that O'Rourke campaigned on a platform that emphasized spending cuts, balancing the federal budget, and criticizing out-of-control government spending. O'Rourke also suggested on multiple occasions that the Social Security retirement age might have to be raised.
"There are certainly places in the federal budget where we have to look at reorganizing, where we have to look at cutting," O'Rourke said during a 2012 primary debate. "And we don't really have a choice. You have a $16 trillion debt. We're running $1 trillion annual deficits and we cannot continue to spend ourselves into ruin. We need to elect people who are gonna go up there and make some tough choices."
The old quotes reveal just how differently O'Rourke is approaching the issues in 2019, running for the nomination in a Democratic Party that is much further left than it was in 2012 when he was running to represent Texas' 16th district.
Today, O'Rourke has expressed support for the Green New Deal, a massive government initiative that could cost an estimated $93 trillion and would represent a significant expansion of the federal government's role into the lives of citizens.
O'Rourke also favors universal health care in some form, another initiative that would expand the government and cost trillions. These programs sound much like the "extravagant government" that congressional candidate O'Rourke decried.
"Are cuts important over the long term? Absolutely," O'Rourke said in 2011. "You have kids, I have kids, as our kids have kids, their ability and options and opportunities in life are going to be significantly curtailed if we don't get our national debt under control because every dollar they pay in taxes is going to go right out to China or to someone else who's financing our extravagant government."