Beto O’Rourke adjusts campaign strategy


(CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke has seen his polling numbers slip among the crowded field of candidates.

A few months in, the former congressman is adjusting his strategy. That includes reaching a wider audience, as opposed to just meeting small groups of voters on campaign stops.

"Meeting you eyeball to eyeball to me is so much more satisfying than being on cable TV," he said at one rally. "At some point, I may have to give in."

On "The View," he admitted his "Vanity Fair" cover may have been a mistake.

" I think it reinforces that perception of privilege," O'Rourke said.

More than two months into his presidential bid, he is in a new phase of his campaign.

"I feel good. This race began with a level of scrutiny and intensity that was unlike anything that I had experienced," he said.

According to a source close to the campaign, staffers are working to make O'Rourke appear more presidential.

Standing on a countertop, sleeves rolled up - that was O'Rourke the week he announced his run for the White House. Now he shows up in a sports coat, with a different platform and at times a different approach on how to reach voters, tackling what many have criticized.

One issue that's been brought up was his lack of policy proposals. This month, the former Texas congressman unveiled a proposal for climate change that includes a $5 trillion investment.

He wrote an op-ed laying out how he wants to end gun violence and tweeted steps he would take for criminal justice reform

He admits he's been studying quite a bit and preparing for the upcoming debates.

"I want to make sure that I perform well in those debates," O'Rourke said.

One staffer said O'Rourke learns more from personal interactions than policy meetings and is developing his positions based on what he hears from voters.

"It's been a little bit of a disconnect between the energy that was coming out of that Texas situation and what we're doing now," said Caroline O'Sullivan-Jenn, a Democratic voter. "I hope he can pick it up, because I think he's really great."

The latest CNN national poll shows O'Rourke losing steam, dropping from 13 to six percent in one month. He says he won't be distracted and is playing for the long term.

"Some days are going to be tougher than others, but the fundamentals remain the same. It's connecting to people," O'Rourke said.

O'Rourke hopes to connect with voters Tuesday night, when he participates in a CNN town hall.

Copyright 2019 CNN. MSNBC, Vanity Fair, ABC, Fox News, Houston Chronicle, Getty Images contributed to the report. All rights reserved.