“You cannot go back to the end of the Obama administration and think that that’s good enough,” O’Rourke said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“We had real problems before Donald Trump became president,” he added, citing wealth inequality, gun violence, child care, and immigration. “We cannot return to the past. We cannot simply be about defeating Donald Trump.”
“So, is Joe Biden a return to the past?” host Willie Geist asked.
“He is,” O’Rouke readily answered. “And that cannot be who we are going forward. We’ve got to be bigger, we’ve got to be bolder, we have to set a much higher mark and be relentless in pursuing that.”
O’Rouke is among more than 20 Democratic candidates competing to take on Trump in the presidential election. Biden has been a leading candidate in polls, even before he officially entered the race in April.
He secured 24% in this week’s Iowa Poll conducted by The Des Moines Register and CNN, while O’Rourke secured just 2%. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) came in second with 16%, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg followed with 15% and 14%, respectively.
O’Rourke shrugged off his low polling number on Sunday, saying it’s too early.
“I don’t know that this many months out from the caucuses in Iowa these polls really indicate what our prospects are,” he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”
“If I relied on polls, in any race I’ve run, I never would have served in the U.S. Congress, never would have taken on Ted Cruz. Never would have been able to lead the largest grassroots effort in the state of Texas,” he added.
“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough, taking to Twitter after O’Rourke’s interview on Thursday, urged voters to “not take your eyes off of O’Rourke’s candidacy,” adding, “He can still win.”
Biden’s opponents have started turning up the heat on him, especially since he reversed his stance on the Hyde Amendment, which essentially bans publicly funded abortions.
Many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have proposed repealing the amendment, arguing that it targets low-income women who rely on government-funded Medicaid for their health care.