Key Words: Vanity Fair editor hits back at Beto’s regret over born-to-run quote: ‘He did say it’

Beto O’Rourke may be second-guessing that Vanity Fair cover, but the magazine’s editor-in-chief has no regrets.

Just before the Texas Democrat joined the crowded 2020 presidential field, he graced the front of the glossy monthly’s March issue with the quote, “I want to be in it. Man, I’m just born to be in it.” The piece didn’t win him the political traction he might have expected, however; instead, critics complained that he came off as privileged and entitled. (He stuck his foot in it again during a speech in Keokuk, Iowa — his first as an official candidate — when he said that helps his wife Amy raise their three kids “sometimes.”)

Now O’Rourke is calling the article a misstep. When Joy Behar asked him on “The View” on Tuesday whether being on the cover of Vanity Fair had been a mistake, he answered, “Yeah. I think it reinforces that perception of privilege.” He also suggested that his quoted words had been taken out of context. “I was attempting to say that I felt that my calling was in public service,” he said. “No one is born to be president of the United States of America, least of all me.”

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This mirrors the response he gave to reporters in Wisconsin three days after the article ran: “I saw the cover with that quote ‘born to run’ or ‘born to do this’ and I was like, man, I hope I didn’t say that. I think the context of that, which makes sense and is the way that I feel, is that I’m born to serve. I’m born to try to help bring people together.”

A recent Monmouth University poll sees O’Rourke in sixth place with just 2% of the vote, far behind Joe Biden (36%) and Bernie Sanders (18%).

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But Vanity Fair editor in chief Radhika Jones isn’t buying it, and she expresses no remorse in a forthcoming interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that’s set to air Friday.

‘I mean, he did say it. And I have felt actually it is clear what he meant.’

Radhika Jones

Jones, who took the reins last year after Graydon Carter stepped down after 25 years at the publication, also noted that “a lot of people have interpreted this cover differently. That’s always the case with covers, I find.” She added: “I’m really proud of it, I’m proud that we got it, and I’m proud that it’s still driving conversation.”

She added, “You know, I’ve presided over a lot of magazine covers in my day, and the truth is you can never exactly game out how something’s going to go over. But I do think that what they talked about and what we also thought about when we were working on the piece, and thought about in all of our coverage on this campaign, is that there are big themes rising up in 2020, and some of them do have to do with privilege and accessibility and precedent. And if we are driving part of that conversation, I think that’s exactly what our job is.”

Read on: Kamala Harris flips script when asked about becoming Joe Biden’s running mate

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