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Beto O’Rourke: ‘I am ashamed of what I wrote and I apologize’

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Tex.), who's running for the Senate, speaks at a rally in September. (Erich Schlegel/Reuters)
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U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke apologized Monday for a decades-old review of a Broadway play that he wrote as a student at Columbia University in which he critiqued the performance of actresses “whose only qualifications seem to be their phenomenally large breasts and tight buttocks.”

“I am ashamed of what I wrote and I apologize,” the Texas congressman said in a statement according to Politico, which reported the story. “There is no excuse for making disrespectful and demeaning comments about women.”

The old review was surfaced by someone who opposes O’Rourke, a Democrat, and his campaign to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas, according to Politico, which did not provide more information about the person who had tipped them off. Opposition research is a common practice in political campaigns of digging up damaging information about opponents and leaking it surreptitiously to the press.

O’Rourke’s review of “The Will Rogers Follies,” was published in the student newspaper, Columbia Daily Spectator, on Oct. 10, 1991. O’Rourke had just turned 19, and he slammed the production, a musical about the life and career of Will Rogers, writing that it was “one of the most glaring examples of the sickening excesses and moral degradations of our culture."

“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,” O’Rourke wrote.

O’Rourke is running against Cruz in a surprisingly competitive race. An average of polls on RealClearPolitics shows Cruz with a 4.5-point lead over O’Rourke and lists the race as a toss-up.

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