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Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. (Kathy Willens/Associated Press) Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. (Kathy Willens/Associated Press)

Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. (Kathy Willens/Associated Press)

Madlin Mekelburg
By Madlin Mekelburg March 14, 2019

Beto O’Rourke’s comments about women were published in a play review

Editor’s note: This is one of four fact-checks featuring a claim made in Club for Growth’s TV ad about Beto O’Rourke. To read the others, click here.

El Paso Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who announced Thursday that he is running for president, had been teasing a presidential bid for weeks.

Speculation about his intentions prompted the conservative Club for Growth to release a television ad looking to weaken enthusiasm for O’Rourke among Democratic primary voters.

The ad argues that O’Rourke has coasted through life due to "white male privilege" and that he is a far cry from former President Barack Obama, as many have drawn comparisons between the two Democrats.

"Obama championed progressive causes on campus, seeking to combat inequality and harmful stereotypes," the ad stated. "Beto perpetuated them, casting aspersions on working women whose ‘only qualifications seemed to be large breasts and tight buttocks’."

Club for Growth provided a fact sheet detailing the source for each statement in the advertisement. Sources include newspaper articles and other sources online. O’Rourke did not return a request for comment.

Comment was from play review

During his Senate race, opponents of O’Rourke unearthed a 1991 review he wrote for the Columbia University student newspaper of the Broadway musical "The Will Rogers Follies" and shared it with Politico, which reported on its contents.

In the review, O’Rourke said the play was directed "in such a showy, glitzy, and ultimately, tacky manner, that one cannot help feeling disgusted throughout the show."

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"Keith Carradine in the lead role is surrounded by perma-smile actresses whose only qualifications seem to be their phenomenally large breasts and tight buttocks," he wrote.

O’Rourke later apologized for his comments and told Politico he is "ashamed of what I wrote."

"There is no excuse for making disrespectful and demeaning comments about women," he said.

Our ruling

Club for Growth said O’Rourke cast "aspersions on working women whose ‘only qualifications seemed to be large breasts and tight buttocks’."

O’Rourke wrote this comment in a review of a play for the student newspaper at Columbia University. The language in the ad is misleading, as it implies O’Rourke was speaking generally about all women.

We rate this claim Mostly True.

Editor’s note: This is one of four fact-checks featuring a claim made in Club for Growth’s TV ad about Beto O’Rourke. To read the others, click here.


MOSTLY TRUE – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.

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Mostly True
Beto O’Rourke perpetuated stereotypes, "casting aspersions on working women whose ‘only qualifications seemed to be large breasts and tight buttocks’."
in a TV ad
Saturday, March 10, 2018

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Beto O’Rourke’s comments about women were published in a play review

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