Speed Reads

One-name celebrities

Is Beto running for president? Oprah thinks so. Bradley Cooper hopes so.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) sat down with Oprah Winfrey at a theater in Times Square on Tuesday afternoon to tape a 50-minute interview for Winfrey's "SuperSoul Conservations from Times Square," which also included chats with actors Michael B. Jordan and Bradley Cooper, philanthropist Melinda Gates, and Time's Up CEO Lisa Borders. Oprah pressed O'Rourke several times on whether he's running in 2020. "I have been thinking about running for president," he said, to loud applause. And? "I'm so excited at the prospect of being able to play that role," he said.

"What's it going to take for you to say 'yes?'" Winfrey asked. "For me, it will really be family," O'Rourke said, noting the concerns of his wife and three young kids. He said that when he visited with former President Barack Obama, Obama didn't encourage him to run, but "he said, 'Look, just to be really clear, this is one of the most intense' experiences one can go through, 'and so know that going into this.'" Beto indulged in a moment of awe: "It's hard to believe that I'm saying I met with Barack Obama — and I'm saying it to Oprah Winfrey."

O'Rourke said he's "increasingly excited about doing something — again to the best of my ability, fulfilling my purpose to its greatest level," and if he can "play some role in helping the country" bridge its divides and come together, "by God I'm going to do it." "By God, when are you going to know the answer?" Oprah asked. "The serious answer is really soon," he said. "Before the end of this month." Winfrey wrapped up the interview by saying, "You seem like you're getting ready to run." Beto smiled.

Cooper was the next interview. "I hope he runs," he said. "We need inspiration." The interview will air Feb. 16 on Winfrey's OWN network, but you can watch them discuss civic engagement below. Peter Weber