Julián Castro dismisses speculation about being veep

Sara Katona

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Julián Castro, secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former mayor of San Antonio, was the Texas Tribune Festival’s closing speaker.

Although moderator and Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith defined Castro’s appearance as one of “personal capacity,” the panel consisted mostly of political futures of Castro and the Democratic Party.

In fact, much of the talk centered around or included Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. 

On Oct. 15, Castro officially endorsed Clinton; an interesting move to some because Vice President Joe Biden could still enter the race.

“I just felt like it was time,” Castro said. “We had the first democratic debate, voting will start in February, so if you’re not going to now, then when will you? No one’s going to be paying attention later on.”

As to not waiting for Biden to enter the race, Castro said he called Biden and discussed his planned endorsement. Castro later spoke about the republican candidates for 2016 and his thoughts on Clinton’s place in the race.

“I believe Secretary Clinton will beat any of these Republican candidates,” Castro said. “She has a stronger track record of actually getting things done and I think she can demonstrate that she knows the issues much better.”

Smith asked Castro about being a potential running mate with Clinton. While news outlets such as The New York Times have speculated this exact thing, Castro denied being on the short list. Castro claimed he simply did not have a feeling about it.

Later, a question was posed about Clinton flip-flopping on issues such as her stance on gay marriage, the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, Iraq war and the Keystone Pipeline. Smith wondered if Sen. Bernie Sanders might be a better candidate.

Castro stated that he would be comfortable with Sanders and could support him. 

“I believe that it would be more difficult for Bernie Sanders to get elected, but remember that elections are always a comparison between two people,” Castro said.

Because he was a three term mayor of San Antonio, Castro was asked about the new Texas gun legislation.

“This false narrative has been set up by the NRA about good guys with guns and bad guys with guns,” Castro said. “They say the only way to keep yourself safe is to have a gun to protect yourself. They don’t think about the element of surprise.”

He argued that tourism and feelings of safety would be affected by the legislation.

“I think you can preserve somebody’s Second Amendment rights without allowing someone to get off thirty rounds before you can get away,” Castro said. “There is a deep and growing feeling among some that the legislation went too far.”