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WASHINGTON - Unable to get a flight back to snowed-in Washington, D.C., Texas Congressmen Will Hurd, a Republican from Helotes, and Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso Democrat, who did a veterans’ event together in San Antonio on Monday, decided to drive together to D.C. – a trip about 1,500 miles and 24 hours long.
Hurd said it was O’Rourke’s idea.
They picked up a Dollar rental Chevy Impala in San Antonio predawn Tuesday.
They went for taquitos at Mi Tierra, where they also bought a piñata mascot — which they have named WillieBeto — to place on the dashboard, though it slipped off.
Starting the day off right at Mi Tierra Cafe before hitting the road for work. 24 hrs to DC. Co-pilot @HurdOnTheHill pic.twitter.com/wZHHF2KQXC— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 14, 2017
They then stopped at Tantra Coffeehouse in San Marcos, and then headed for Austin, where they pulled over by the University of Texas to do a live spot on MSNBC, where they were asked what would be the ideal pairing for a Texas-to-D.C. road trip like the one they were on.
They passed on the suggestion that came through on O’Rourke’s Facebook livestream — Reps. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, and Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Houston.
From there, they busted in on Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith and "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd just ahead of Smith’s interview of Todd for his KLRU show, "Overheard."
Hurd was asked to offer an example of an issue on which he and O’Rourke agree.
“We both agree a border wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do border security,” Hurd said.
Cross country town hallPosted by Congressman Beto O'Rourke on Tuesday, March 14, 2017
From Austin, the road trip headed toward Waco on the way to Texarkana and the Arkansas line.
They said they would be guided by "the people" in their choice of route, but O’Rourke said he’d like to go through Memphis – which they eventually did.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, old enough to be their father, phoned in to make sure there was no distracted driving going on.
Hurd assured him O’Rourke had a firm hand on the wheel.
But Cornyn’s connection wasn’t so good.
O’Rourke: “We lost Sen. Cornyn.”
They briefly stopped talking policy to listen to a little music.
First, Khalid from El Paso, and then, of course, Willie Nelson, "On the Road Again."
And then, off with the music for a phone interview with Bill Lambrecht of the San Antonio Express-News.
Lambrecht: “So whose wacky idea was this?”
And, “If you go to Memphis you might want to think about stopping by Graceland.” (They did, but it was closed.)
O’Rourke said that for both of them, “our party leadership is probably not really excited about us doing this” because they would each be seen as helping a member of the opposite party.
“Screw that line of thinking,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke preferred to drive straight through to their destination. Hurd preferred to “stop and smell the roses.”
And use the facilities.
“Will has a small bladder,” O’Rourke said. “And we’ve been drinking a ton of coffee.”
At Hurd’s pace, O’Rourke said, “We’ll get to Washington by mid-summer.”
According to The Associated Press, they arrived at the Capitol on Wednesday "with minutes to spare before a 6:30 p.m. House vote."
Posted by U.S. Representative Will Hurd on Wednesday, March 15, 2017