Booker: no presidential bid in 2016

Corey Booker smiles while doing a meet and greet at the South Jersey Democrat HQ in Cherry Hill on July 17, 2013. ( ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer )

PATERSON, N.J.  -- Cory Booker won’t be running for president in 2016, he said here today.

Asked after a campaign stop if he had ruled out a run that year, he said, “absolutely, yes.”

A Politico reporter asked if that was unequivocal. “Unequivocally,” he said.

“I would not consider it. At this point my focus is on being the next United States Senator and doing a great job finishing out the unexpired term of Sen. Lautenberg,” and then serving for six years, Booker said.

He later added, "No presidential, no VP" in 2016.

Booker is running in a Democratic primary to finish the last year of Lautenberg's Senate term. If he wins the Aug. 13 primary and Oct. 16 general election (he is favored in both races), he would presumably seek a full six-year term in 2014.

Booker’s friends and allies have publicly and privately touted his potential as a national candidate, given his profile, biography and widespread popularity, and a planned speech in Iowa raised eyebrows earlier this week (the speech was cancelled).

The Washington Post’s political blog “The Fix” recently rated Booker as the Democrat with the 5th best chance of winning the party's 2016 presidential nomination.

Today, the blog pointed out that denials such as Booker's sometimes have a short shelf life. In 2006 Barack Obama also said he would serve his six year term. Two years later, he was elected president.

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