Beto O’Rourke extols Ellen: 'You are kindness, you are joy'
© Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) is lauding Ellen DeGeneres, saying the daytime talk show host is “what this country needs right now.”

“You are kindness, you are joy,” O’Rourke, who is running for Senate, tells DeGeneres in a preview clip from his Wednesday appearance on “Ellen.”

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DeGeneres said she had asked O’Rourke — who’s challenging incumbent Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate NY Times, McCabe give Trump perfect cover to fire Rosenstein, Sessions Live coverage: Cruz, O'Rourke clash in Texas debate MORE (R) in a tight race — to come on her show after seeing a video of the congressman defending NFL players who kneel in protest during the national anthem. The clip quickly went viral.

While DeGeneres, who's spoken out before against President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE, called O’Rourke a “brilliant man,” the lawmaker heaped even more praise back on her.

“If you don’t mind me saying, to me, you embody so much of what that country needs right now,” O’Rourke told DeGeneres, when asked about his decision to accept her invitation.

“You are meeting difficulty and disappointment with a power and joy of connecting with people and bringing the best out of people,” O’Rourke continued.

Plus, O’Rourke said, he was scoring brownie points with his wife with the DeGeneres sit-down.

“And so, if there's a way that we can connect with what you are doing with the viewers who watch this show; if I can make my wife, Amy, who’s here, even happier, right there, then I’m going to do it,” said O’Rourke.

“I think that’s what the country needs right now — the ability to have conversations about the things we are excited for, the things we want to do,” O’Rourke, 45, continued. “Not so much the things that were afraid of, not the smallness or the littleness or the paranoia of the moment. The bigness and I feel that with you.”

Polls consistently show a tight race between Cruz and O'Rourke in deep-red Texas. A survey released last week indicated that only a single point — well within the margin of error — separated the two.