Beto O’Rourke, the guy who once had an abundance of media love and Democrat adoration, pretty much put a stop to his presidential aspirations during the opening moments of his party’s first televised debate when he suddenly, inexplicably, broke into Spanish while answering a question from NBC host Savannah Guthrie.

Talk about confusing.

Even Cory Booker, down two podiums to O’Rourke’s right, was like, what the freak, man? That is, until several questions later, when the topic turned to immigration, Booker answered his own question in a foreign language. That is, until even more questions later, when host Jose Diaz-Balart of Telemundo, asked O’Rourke a question on immigration in Spanish — and then O’Rourke answered yet again in Spanish.

What is it with the Democratic Party that members feel the need to speak languages other than English to win votes?

But maybe in O’Rourke’s defense, it was that he couldn’t answer the question and was hoping the audience wouldn’t notice. There is a bit of truth in that.

Guthrie asked — pretty clearly and directly, too — Mr. O’Rourke, do you support a 70% individual marginal tax rate?

And O’Rourke’s reply?

Yada, yada, blah, blah, blah — followed quickly by the Spanish for, ostensibly, yada yada, blah, blah, blah.

He then switched back to English. But not before we all had a slack jaw moment wondering what exactly his handlers put in his coffee to make him think breaking into Spanish in the middle of a debate for the White House was a good idea.

Guthrie ultimately called him for time. But then she gave him another 10 seconds to answer the question she originally posed. Apparently, his Spanish didn’t dazzle enough to cover the fact he evaded?

Honestly, O’Rourke’s final answer to the marginal tax rate question eludes. Not quite sure what he said. It seems like he said something, and it seems like the something he said was in English.

But that’s the whole problem with Beto, in a nutshell. It doesn’t matter if he speaks English or Spanish.

He still doesn’t say anything worth hearing.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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