Former Obama administration official Julian Castro, who announced on Saturday that he was running for president, tried to refute the Republican National Committee's claim that his limited experience makes him an extreme "lightweight" in the presidential race.
The 44-year-old candidate appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" where co-host Margaret Brennan asked him to respond to RNC spokesperson Michael Ahrens' tweet referring to him as "one of the biggest lightweights to ever run for president."
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"How do you respond, and how do you explain why you are qualified to be commander in chief?" Brennan asked.
"You know, they are going to use those kinds of words for every single Democrat that decides to run for president," Castro said. "I wouldn't put too much stock in that. I would just say to the American people directly that I have executive experience. I've led one of the largest, most diverse cities in the country. I've led a federal agency, HUD, and done some great work to expand opportunity. I know what it takes to ensure that we have a government that functions well."
He said he also thinks his "life experience" resonates with many Americans, referencing how he was raised in a single-parent household and attended public schools in San Antonio.
Castro, who served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration, was surrounded by family and friends at San Antonio’s Plaza Guadalupe on Saturday when he told the crowd that he was ready to begin the next chapter of his "American dream."
"I’m running for president because it’s time for new leadership," Castro said. "It’s time for new energy and it’s time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities I’ve had are available for every American."
Castro struggled on Jan. 6 to answer a similar question about his aptitude when pressed by ABC host George Stephanopoulos on what qualified him to be the next president.
"Well, I—as I said earlier, I think that being mayor of a large city and serving in the president's cabinet certainly qualifies one to be commander in chief, and I'm going to go out there and make the case," Castro said.