Booker says rival's remarks 'callous' and 'bigoted'
August 29th, 2013
07:54 AM ET
9 years ago

Booker says rival's remarks 'callous' and 'bigoted'

(CNN) – Cory Booker hitting back at his GOP rival for U.S. Senate, calling Steve Lonegan's remarks about his sexuality "sad" and "bigoted."

The dust-up began when Booker told the Washington Post he isn't bothered about speculation he's gay. That assertion, Lonegan declared in an interview with a conservative online publication, was "weird."

"I personally like being a guy," Lonegan told Newsmax.

Speaking with HuffPost Live on Wednesday, Booker – the Democratic mayor of Newark, New Jersey – said that sentiment amounted to a prejudiced view of gay men.

"I mean that's just sad," Booker said. "Honestly that's just really sad. And it's just disheartening to hear somebody in this day and age in the United States of America … say basically - implicate that gay men are not men. That they're not guys."

"That kind of callous, bigoted disrespect to gays and lesbians just shouldn't be tolerated," he added.

Lonegan had also taken aim at Booker's admitted late night manicures and pedicures, calling the practice a "fetish" and claiming his own indulgence was "a good Scotch and a cigar."

"That's my fetish but we'll just compare the two," Lonegan said.

But Booker argued his rival had adopted a misguided view of masculinity.

"The thought that what defines manhood is the drink that you drink or cigar that you smoke, I think that he just really misses the boat on what it means to be a man in America," he said.

Polling in the contest indicates Booker is the heavy favorite to win the October 16 special election. According to a Fairleigh Dickinson University survey released Thursday, Booker held a 50%-22% lead over Lonegan among registered voters. The winner will serve the remainder of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's term.

CNN's Kevin Liptak and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: Cory Booker • New Jersey
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. MaryM

    Steve Lonegan's remarks means that Lonegan has already lost the election. Any republicans wonder why the American people hate them more and more every day

    August 29, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    It would appear that Mr. Lonegan has ignored the memo about the Republican Party makeover. Oh, oh, that's right. Lonegan considers himself to be a member of the Tea Party, not a Republican. I think that once the establishment Republicans realize that distinction, then they will have turned a corner for the better. Meanwhile, Republican Party has become the GOTP.

    August 29, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  3. Myk Nelsen

    So I guess, drinking scotch and smoking a cigar makes you a man? Manicures and pedicures make you less of a man? Mr. Lonegan might want to consult the players in the NFL about their manhood because there are a great deal of them that get them done a regular basis.

    August 29, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  4. Steve, New York City

    Amazing. The Republican party truly puzzles me, in who they decide to run. Lonegan's ridiculous comments, insane comments about rape, shouting "you lie," calling the president a "tar baby," . . . .quite unfair to say that all Republicans are like this – as you have decent ones out there too like Chris Christie, Brent Scowcroft, others . . but the imbeciles in the party really seem to drown out the decent ones. Governor Jindal was 100% CORRECT – Republicans need to stop being the stupid party.

    August 29, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    He made these comments to Newsmax: this online rag has no credibility outside the Right Wing. Its nothing more than a gossip sheet.

    August 29, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Politics is always a dirty business, mostly of lies, and attacks.......and little truth.

    August 29, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  7. Vince

    Duh. He's a Republican.

    August 29, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  8. gary allan

    If a liberal said it, it would be ok though, republicans are not allowed the same freedoms as liberals are.

    August 29, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mr. Booker please tell me you're NOT surprised.
    As my mother used to say: "Consider the source".
    Good luck to you sir, and may the best man win!

    August 29, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  10. LJ

    Glad I'm not from Newark. Based on the comments here, you are all messed up.

    August 29, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  11. Donkey Party

    Gary Allan – Because a "Liberal" is too smart to say something so asinine.

    August 29, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  12. princetrumpet

    Goodness, aren't we touchy? Who brought the issue up in the first place? Lonegan thought bringing it up at all was weird, so, apparently, he's not the one obsessed with it. Booker is. One guy likes his manicures and pedicures, the other cigars and a drink. Many of you are as prejudiced a cigar and a drink as others may be about men with pedicures/manicures. I'm still looking for the quote where Lonegan says he's more masculine than Booker. If the reader wants to infer something that's his/her business.

    Out, race card. In, gay card.

    It's amazing how utterly silly people get when they want to win a political race of some sort.

    August 29, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  13. Peace

    Booker, just ignore whatever crazy Steve Lonegan says. He is the loser. He has seen that the water is coming up to cover him completely, he has now chosen to lip up anything and see whether people will buy it. Once again, just ignore him and prepare yourself for celebrating your win.

    August 29, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. Ben

    Oh goody, here come the umbrage police to be offended by every offhanded comment. If we spend every political season in a constant, phony outrage we are going to keep electing empty suits with the best political team.

    August 29, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  15. SMFIC in NJ

    Oh my goodness, the horror.
    I love all the righteous indignation coming from the Party of the People. The Party of Diversity and Loving All Views, except if those views are not outrageously anti-white, anti-male, and anti-american.
    What did Lonegan supposedly say? That Booker seems to be comfortable with people thinking, with some good reasons apparently, he's homosexual? Oh dear. Or that Booker appears to have a bit of a flamboyancy about him given his obsession with late night manicures and pedicures? Millions will die from this. Thousands will become homeless and jobless.
    Oh please.
    Meanwhile, we all just sat through over a year of Obama and his campaign calling Romney a thief, a murderer, a tax cheat, a criminal, a dog killer, an out of touch rich white male, evil, and basically anything else he and his team of bums could come up with.
    Just more stupid, silly, and contrived insanity to distract from any real argument on Booker's time as Mayor of Newark where unemployment is at almost 20%, almost a billion dollars in NJ taxpayer money given to Newark schools with no improvement whatsoever in achievement, and crime stats just shy of Camden.

    August 29, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. Rudy NYC


    Goodness, aren't we touchy? Who brought the issue up in the first place? Lonegan thought bringing it up at all was weird, so, apparently, he's not the one obsessed with it. Booker is.
    That's pretzel logic, dude. Not only is sarcasm lost and wasted in the right wing, but so is simple logic and common sense.

    August 29, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. S.B. Stein

    Who cares if Booker is a homosexual or not... Can he fairly and appropriately represent the state in the US Senate? That is the question that is being asked of the people when they go to the polls in October because Christie is too afraid that he'd only win by 5% instead of 20% if the special Senate election happened with everything else.

    August 29, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. Seriously?

    It's amazing how liberal politicians always have a need to turn things into matters of race and now sexuality.

    Very sad to see that the next big hype for the US Senate has such thin skin.

    August 29, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. Larry in Houston

    next thing you're going to hear him say is "race" ......too bad, that's the way they are, everytime they dis-agree with something, or somebody, they pull the "race card" & they think everybody is supposed to constantly look over it....He's another guy who is trying to go up the ladder, but I doubt if he gets very far

    August 29, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |