December 7th, 2012
09:33 PM ET
10 years ago

Booker: Presidential run 'not even in the realm of consideration'

(CNN) - Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker did not deny his interest in seeking higher political office in an interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" Friday, when he also spoke about living for a week on food stamps.

"It's a little more difficult than I imagined," said Booker, a Democrat. "I thought it would be good on eating on a tight budget, so I started out not really marshalling my food well, so I'm really cutting back now."

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Booker said he resolved to spend a week eating only what he could afford on credits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program after an online conversation "with a woman who was pooh-poohing government's role in providing nutrition for kids" went viral.

He described his week, which concludes this weekend, as an effort to raise awareness about "food insecurity," obesity and other food-related issues.

Among the most challenging aspects, he said, was giving up caffeine.

"Going out and getting a cup of coffee at Starbucks will wipe out your entire allowance for a day, and for a guy who was admittedly caffeine-addicted, I am now going through a bit of a withdrawal," he told CNN's Piers Morgan.

"This is one thing, the challenges for me right now, complaining about the headache and caffeine withdrawal - I'm off this in a week," he added. But, he continued, there are working families who rely on SNAP and similar programs.

Booker made no announcements about his own political future, which is expected to involve a bid for another office.

"My focus right now is trying to figure out what that next step will be that's in accordance with my values. Life is about purpose, not position, and my value is I want to find whatever I can do to best make a contribution to the people in the city I love and that state I love," he said when asked if he is interested in running for the U.S. Senate, possibly in 2014 when Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg's fifth term is up.

A more immediate opportunity would be challenging New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has seen strong poll numbers due to his handling of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

"I'm not even going to give you the denial," he said about challenging Christie. "I'm simply saying that this is one of the most important races in the country."

He said Christie's kind words for President Barack Obama after the storm are an example of "the way government should work."

"Governor Christie and President Obama showed the right spirit during one of the worst natural disasters to hit in my lifetime in my state," he said.

And will there be a Booker for President campaign anytime soon?

"President of the New Jersey Star Trek Association?" Booker replied. As for the Oval Office, "that is not even in the realm of consideration right now."

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Filed under: Chris Christie • Cory Booker • New Jersey • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. TTY

    Mayor Cory kudos for standing up for the poor and voiceless! Regarding the assistance being “intended only as supplemental” remember these people have to pay rent and other expenses from whatever little income they make. The government has moral responsibility to ensure these people can live in dignity.

    December 8, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  2. flytomars

    I hope he runs for president one day.

    December 8, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  3. Pumbaa

    Starbucks! There isn't a Starbucks where I live. I do quite well with an inexpensive coffee maker and a bag of beans from Walmart. Does this guy think that all people blow money by having to buy store prepared coffee?

    December 8, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  4. Jeff Cox

    I really like this guy. My fear (and it's not based on anything except the fact that I've been SO disappointed in the past by other so-called "rising stars) is that there's some "John Edwards" secret that could come out. I pray that isn't the case.

    December 8, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Terry

    He should change his name to " need to be the center of attention 24/7".

    December 8, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  6. Christopher

    This is very misleading. Nobody eats off SNAP alone. What he should have done, was get SNAP, EBT, and section 8. I find it hard to comprehend how "difficult" it is to live off of Gov't assistance, when the woman in front of me at the grocery store is buying steak, shrimp, lobster, tons of snacks, etc – with her EBT card.

    December 8, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. AnnieM

    Caffeine withdrawal? Try feeding a family of four on $20 a week. Now that would be a challenge.

    December 8, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  8. Anonymous

    After working in a convenience store and witnessing the junk that was purchased using SNAP, I think the rules need to be tightened. Salty snacks, candy and soft drinks are not very nutritious.

    December 8, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  9. Linda

    He could have had a bag of coffee purchased with food stamp benefits at the grocery and made his own. A pound would have lasted several days. He didn't have to go to Starbucks! There's plenty that can be purchased with food stamps and have a good variety of food.

    December 8, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Chuck T

    Provide stricter guide lines , remove a lot of the fraud now prevalent to everyone and require drug tests for principle recipients and there will be more than enough money to provide for the truly needy and perhaps even increase allotments.

    December 8, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. DENNA

    Bless his heart. Why would he want that grief? The GOP is mad now. They've been outsmarted twice by the Obama team and will be ready to stamp out any other progressive who even tries to run. And they will especially be on the lookout for anymore educated African American candidates. Don't worry my Republican friends. Governor Christie will be your new headache and he is a GOPer I could vote for if he continues displaying common sense, something that is stunningly lacking in the GOP.

    December 8, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Donkey Party

    Great guy, not the greatest choice for Democrats, but far better than anything the GOP can find. Hillary Clinton will be the country's first female President after winning the 2016 race, and there is nobody on the GOP side that stands a chance against her. Looks like Paul Ryan and Chris Christie will be sacrificial lambs (er, lamb and cow).

    December 8, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Brian P

    He can't buy a small jar of instant coffee?

    December 8, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. MIke

    SNAP is meant to supplement a families grocery bill, not be the provider of it. As a compassionate person Americans need to help a family when hard times hit, but a persons only source for food shouldn't be SNAP.

    December 8, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Leslie

    I am unemployed and receive $ 16.00 a month- yes you read that right Sixteen dollars! What can I get on that that will last me a full month.Try eating on $4.00 a week

    December 8, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. mklsgl

    Inalienable rights that are self-evident: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That would certainly include housing, food, health care, and all essential necessities, right?

    December 8, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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