O'Rourke gives himself an A for debate performance
© Greg Nash

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke gave himself an “A” grade for his performance during the first Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night, saying he is focused on a "new kind of politics."

“I described why I’m doing this, who I’m doing it for, the people that inspire me, and how we’re going to meet these challenges. I felt like I was able to get that across,” O’Rourke said in a Thursday morning interview with CNN's "New Day."

O’Rourke said he focused Wednesday night bringing voters across the aisle to fight for future generations. He also criticized the Trump administration for its family separation policy on the Southern border and its treatment of migrant children.


“I talked about my daughter Molly, who just turned 11 years old, and the fact that she’s counting on us, that children all across this country that are counting on us, and that there are children who, right now, do not have representation or a voice, including those sleeping on concrete floors under tinfoil blankets who have been separated from their families,” O’Rourke said. "I talked about the new kind of politics that it will take to meet these historic challenges that we face."

O’Rourke also noted some of the confrontations that drew attention during the debate, including his exchange with former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro (D) over immigration policy and Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Booker brings girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson, to inauguration MORE’s (D-N.J.) now-viral side eye while the former lawmaker was speaking Spanish.

“That’s part of politics, and it’s part of a debate, certainly one where you have ten candidates on the stage, each of them trying to make their mark,” O’Rourke said. “I choose to define myself not against other people. I’m really running not against any of those other candidates, but for the United States of America. I felt like my responsibility was to describe my vision for this country and reflect back so much of what I’ve heard by listening to people all across this country.”