Booker says comments taken out of context
May 22nd, 2012
12:14 AM ET
10 years ago

Booker says comments taken out of context

(CNN) - Cory Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark, New Jersey who said Sunday political language used on both sides of the aisle is "nauseating," said Monday his comments were being used for cynical political gain by Republicans seeking to portray Democrats as fractured.

"I've been taken out of context," Booker said on MSNBC. "I've been used to support a cynicism."

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Booker said that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's experience leading the private equity firm Bain Capital should be on the table, after saying on Sunday that he was not going "to sit here and indict private equity." Republicans who seized upon that remark only motivated Booker more, the mayor said Monday.

"If anything they've turned me on," Booker said of the backlash from Republicans.

Booker said he felt "used" by the Republican National Committee, which highlighted the remarks in an e-mail to supporters, and said that a Sunday afternoon response he made on YouTube after the comments went viral was not at the request of the Obama campaign.

"The reality is the Barack Obama team and the White House and their political team have been good to me for many, many years," Booker said. "I've worked with them early in the primaries in the last election. They have never pressured me to do anything. They've done nothing but encourage me and in this case in particular, I certainly did talk with campaign officials. But they didn't force me to do anything."

Republican criticism of Obama involving his one-time spiritual mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, "can't even be equated" with the comparatively mild language used by Democrats, he said in the interview.

On Sunday, Booker invoked the Bain and Wright attacks as examples of discussions that are distracting from the larger issues facing the U.S.

But on Monday, Booker was clear that Bain, and Romney's business record overall, are very much fair game.

He drew a distinction between Romney's claim that his investments produced jobs, rather than only returns for his investors.

"When he says he was a job creator, I think that's a characterization of his record that deserves inquiry," Booker said.

Asked about his supporter's comments at a Monday news conference, Obama said Bain should be in play.

"When you're president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot," Obama said.

However, Booker was not clear where the line should be drawn between the "appropriate questions" about Romney's record that he referenced Monday, and the "ridiculous" that he mentioned Sunday.

Also see:

Political jabs are 'nauseating,' mayor says

Gingrich is millions in the hole

Boehner and Pelosi say they feel good heading into November

Axelrod: Fund-raising pitch cited Wright threat to combat super PACs

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soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. N. Shapiro

    Looks like Romney was a corporate raider, and his record, as Governor of Massachusetts, on that state's economy is dismal, Massachusetts' economy went backwards in his administration.
    His supporters are looking for any way to avoid these important topics. They don't want "Bain" discussed, so again raise the Wright nothing issue, and in Arizona are doing the "birther" idiocy again.

    May 22, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. Bart

    Romney is running on his experience at Bain, therefore it is fair game to pick it apart. This is essentially what repubs said in 2004 when they attacked John Kerry's military service (which was vicious). They can"t cry now.

    May 22, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. ThatsIt121

    It appears that Booker has.....'Evolved'.

    May 22, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Pete

    Booker stepped on his tongue and will learn a valuable lesson,knowing how these hypocritical rightwingers take everything out of context.Republicans are pros at putting spins on everything as long as it helps promote their extremists agendas and doesn't leave any doubt who they really endorse,that republican leper Romney...President Obama did state the difference between his job and Romneys,one works for the good of all people,the other works for his own financial gains and keeping his clients ,shareholders with increasing dividends on their investments.Not caring or knowing what happens to these corporations after their supposid restructurings or subsequent demise at the hands of this capitalistic vulture.

    May 22, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. HPNII

    We need more people brave enough to break party lines and put nation first. I admire him because as I understand it,it has cost a lot of money from the democratic party for making that statement.

    May 22, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. BB

    Booker has obviously been bought and paid for by Wall Street contributions. Why else would he go on national television and insidiously undermine President Obama's political strategy.

    May 22, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. PaulC

    It will be a very long time before I would confide in him or let him speak for me.
    He was either looking to advance his own political agenda or is a DINO. Either way he is persona non grata.

    May 22, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. KRB

    How many jobs are left at Solyndra? How much tax payer money was given to Obama's minions that ran this company? Romney needs to compare his work at Bain to Obama's work on crony capitalism in the form of tax payer money given to these "green energy" compainies (really theyre just pay offs to the Obama handlers).

    May 22, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. Wes Monroe

    Too bad Booker didn't have the guts to stick with his story and had to walk it back....................

    May 22, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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