Matt WelchIn the first stop of a three-day, all-10-counties swing through the early primary state of New Hampshire, presidential fundraiser extraordinaire Beto O’Rourke demonstrated last night at Keene State college many of the qualities that make him simultaneously a formidable candidate and an object of ridicule.

O’Rourke theatrically rolled up his signature white sleeves immediately upon arrival to the Keene Student Center, hopped up on a bench to get his tall, lanky frame above the eyeline of the mosh pit (which held around 250), and did his finger-jabbing, toe-bouncing best to look like a college debater-turned waiter trying his hand at slam poetry.

Yet before there was even time enough for a proper giggling fit, the former congressman and El Paso city councilman was off on a genuinely moving 900-word rap about immigration, extolling the safety of multinational cities, praising the bravery of asylum seekers fleeing Central American violence, and decrying the cruelty of the Trump administration’s family-separation policy. “Until every single one of those children is reunited with every single one of their families,” he said, “it is on all of us. It becomes our responsibility to make this right.”