Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke pauses to watch the scenery Monday, April 29, 2019, in Yosemite National Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

O'Rourke's laugh line falls flat as kids talk serious issues

May 06, 2019 - 11:58 am

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is learning that reliable jokes during the campaign don't always make kids laugh, especially when they're want to talk about serious issues.

The former Texas congressman spoke to an 8th grade civics class in Newton, Iowa, and took questions about climate change, school violence and President Donald Trump's insults of political opponents.

Fourteen-year-old Milan Underberg wept while asking about school shootings. She said: "I'm afraid that, one day, I'll go to school and I'll never come out."

O'Rourke said young people would force change and that Milan framed the issue in the most "personal, powerful terms possible."

O'Rourke's normally reliable joke about his Republican mother voting for him fell flat, though. He said afterward: "It's, yeah, maybe a little bit of a different audience."

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