October 26th, 2012
11:46 AM ET
2 years ago

Booker: Sununu's comment was 'unfortunate'

(CNN) – Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a top surrogate for President Barack Obama's campaign, said Friday that a surrogate for Mitt Romney made the wrong call when he argued Colin Powell endorsed Obama because they shared the same race.

"Whatever he meant or not, it was a statement that is unfortunate and just reflects a lack of understanding and sensitivity," Booker said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

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He added: "He's gotten himself in a jam and he's going to wear that jam for a while."

Speaking on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," Romney surrogate John Sununu on Thursday downplayed the importance of the former secretary of state's endorsement, pointing to the support Romney's received from former President George H.W. Bush. He went on to explain that Powell's endorsement of Obama didn't rely solely on the political issues at hand.

"When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to look at whether that's an endorsement based on issues or he's got a slightly different reason for endorsing President Obama," Sununu said, adding: "I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him."

Later, Sununu released a statement saying "Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President's policies."

Booker on Friday said the "responsible thing to do" would be for the Romney campaign to issue their own statement.

"But the one thing I don't like about our political culture is we take one person's comments–stupid or not–and then we just try to spread it out and lay it over anything," Booker said. "Mitt Romney didn't say this, so it's the kind of thing for me that's just a dumb comment."

Booker was in the spotlight himself earlier this year for criticizing his own party's attacks against Romney's corporate career and saying political language used on both sides of the aisle is "nauseating." He later walked back his remarks.

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, also weighed in on Sununu's comments on "Starting Point." Asked if he thought Powell voted for Obama because of race, Sessions sad, "no, I think you would have to ask Colin Powell."

"You could say that I endorse Mitt Romney, but that's not just because I'm a white man," Sessions continued. "We all have things which we're for, which we support. Colin Powell believes the president is heading down the right path. I simply disagree on this issue with Colin Powell."


Filed under: 2012 • Cory Booker • John Sununu
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    John Sununu was born in Cuba of an El Salvadorian mother and Palestinian father. Why aren't Repubs up in arms about this Middle Eastern wetback?

    *sarcasm*

    October 26, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. BinaryTooth

    But... It's true.

    October 26, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Malory Archer

    No Mayor Booker – it was racist and implies that we shoud vote our race instead of our best interests.

    October 26, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. robert jay1

    It certainley sems like the republicans have a habit of unfortunate statements – I guess when you are rich and republican that's all race baiting / race bias / gender bias / sexual bias / elderly biased / unfortunate biased etc thats also just 'unfortunate' also – what a suprise – repugs "unfortunately abohr abortion but love killing kids in useless /meaningless wars when they reach their teens – Ver "unfortunate I would say!

    October 26, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. David nassi

    The truth is the truth is the truth........+

    October 26, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. bowers

    No one pays attention to Sununu; he's another Newt.

    October 26, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. robert jay1

    lets try again – Republicans abohr abortion but think nothing of sending teens off to useless wars to be killed – now that "unfortunate"!

    October 26, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. UBS, WILLARD & THE 4000+ AMERICAN AMNESTY DEAL

    Colin Powell supports the President on policy, not because of race. Sununu has proven himself to be a racist. "This President has to learn how to be American." Really? Never in my lifetime have I heard such blatant disrespect towards the President or the Office of the President.

    October 26, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Bren

    We all know its true but people are all too politically correct to state the obvious. Whenever a certain race votes 96% for one person you know there is a problem. Deny it or try to roast Sununu for the comment but the truth hurts. We were all proud to have a black president four years ago but he has done a miserable job and the huge percentage of blacks that will vote for him this time will just give further credence to what Sununu stated. Sununu has made Soledad O'Brien look like a petty and partisan Obama surrogate in so many interviews she has her own axe to grind with him.

    October 26, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. lolo

    No it is not true Binary Tooth. White people are so naive and belive anything that is told to them. Collin Powell knows who is the best man for the job and it is not Romney. Romney could not find his way out of a wet paper bag. You forget the President Obama is of mixed race and his black side is just to much for the republicans to take. They are starting this same old crap again about the president to keep their base interested in Romney especially the south who can be race-baited in a nano second. President Obama being part black is just the icing on the cake for minorities, however he is a smart and meticulous person and the right man for the job of president to represent all of America not just a few like Romney. Romney just wants to be president so he can yell from the roof top that he was president. He cares nothing about Americans unless they are rich. Him and his wife both look down their noses at poor people and they both have shown us that. It is you and your wing nuts who use the race card every chance you get. This is 2012 and America has changed onver the years so you had better get use to it or move to another country.

    October 26, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Frank

    Everything about Sununu is unfortunate.

    October 26, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    The republicans make all kinds of statements like that and then draw them back.

    They can't unring a bell - they made their point, and changing their mind usually doesn't make the news.

    Karl Rove – 2000 & 2004 playbook

    October 26, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. robert Davis

    Deny all you want. Hope and Change– He has divided this country more than ever..Where is the outrage over libya

    October 26, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. ezduzit757

    Obama, endorsed by an American hero and icon, Colin Powel.
    Romney, endorsed by an American circus clown, Donald Trump

    October 26, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. Meka

    @Malory Archer
    Voting for President Obama, is in America's best interest.
    Romneys Quote "I would let the Motrgage Loans go into foreclosure, then the Investor's will buy them up-and RENT THE HOMES OUT". This was Romneys statement on Meet The Press!

    October 26, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. Ann Salter

    There is nothing unfortunate about this statement . Let's face the facts . Why is it ok for the Democratic
    media or people from the Dem camp to state that Obama will get 90% of the black vote and then be outraged when the suggestion is made that someone of color would be voting for the President because of his race ! What's with the
    double standard , it is what it is, better to ask why the African Americans are not voing for Mitt Romney ? But no
    one will go there

    October 26, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. robert Davis

    Of course CNN and other media outlets are to much of a coward to report this

    October 26, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Bob in Boston

    Colin Powell made it through the Army ranks during the decades of serious affirmative action, yet, when all is said and done, he votes black, because he's atrue racist at heart. But, the real issue and question here is why Obama can't even acknowledge that he half-white, and worse yet, why he doesn't even acknowledge his white Mother...

    October 26, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. robert Davis

    keep playing that race card and see how far that gets you

    October 26, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Michael

    You Republicans should really take a good look at the scum that represent your party, Sununu, Akin, Mourdock, Prebus, Bachman, Limbaugh, Coulter, Morris.... the list just goes on and on and on.

    October 26, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. Tired of it all

    Colin Powell's time is past and his endorsement means nothing anymore.

    October 26, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. robert jay1

    hey there B davis the outrage over libya is where t should be – nowhere- pale by compariosn to Iraq by the way

    October 26, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. nutin2do

    The GOP is showing their true colors now! Colin Powell is a great leader himself. Wish he would run for office, I would vote for him. What would John Sununu say to a WOMAN running for office?

    October 26, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. quinLee

    Folks, you should know that John Sununu is a disgraced White House chief of staff from the Bush I administration who was embroiled in an ethics scandals. He's a hack and a well known dirty racist. Powell laid out very clearly his reasons for supporting Obama and it had absolutely nothing to do with race. If you are able to reason and comprehend you should read his full comments. For the rest continue on with your blissful ignorant lives.

    October 26, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. robert Davis

    You keep telling yourself that..Obama is a crook and his time will be up..LOOK AT ALL THE POLES

    October 26, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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