Sunday, August 30, 2015

Booker responds - or does he?

WASHINGTON -- Officially, Cory Booker’s campaign team declined to comment on Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s words today suggesting he had to “spank” the Newark mayor for disrespect.

Booker responds - or does he?

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In this Sept. 4, 2012, file photo, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. In a 1992 column in The Stanford Daily, his college newspaper, Booker wrote that he was "disgusted by gays" before a transformative experience with a gay peer counselor changed his views. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
In this Sept. 4, 2012, file photo, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. In a 1992 column in The Stanford Daily, his college newspaper, Booker wrote that he was "disgusted by gays" before a transformative experience with a gay peer counselor changed his views. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON -- Officially, Cory Booker’s campaign team declined to comment on Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s words today suggesting he had to “spank” the Newark mayor for disrespect.

But, minutes after the no comment e-mail arrived, Booker wrote this on Twitter: “Often your best words are those you choose to keep to yourself.”

Of course, maybe he was just making a random philosophical observation, but somehow we doubt it.

Not after Lautenberg, speaking publicly for the first time since Booker said he was considering a run for Senate in 2014, said, “I have four children, I love each one of them. I can't tell you that one of them wasn't occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK." (More of his comments here).

Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat, was responding to a question about his aides anonymously telling other media outlets that Booker has been “disrespectful” as he openly flirts with a run for the seat Lautenberg holds.

Booker, also a Democrat, has filed to create a Senate campaign committee, but has not officially said he’s running. Lautenberg today also declined to say if he will run again.

Lautenberg had one other comment that may have been a more subtle dig – or just banter. You be the judge, but consider that Booker has come under criticism for being a national star, but not spending enough time in Newark:

“He and I both are committed to working in Newark,” Lautenberg said. “I go there every day, I can tell you that.”

As we’ve said here before, neither man is officially running yet, but it’s already a feisty contest.

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About this blog

Jonathan Tamari is the Inquirer’s Washington correspondent. He writes about the lawmakers, politics and policy that affect Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Tamari previously covered the Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL. Before that he worked in Trenton, reporting on the characters and color of New Jersey state government. He lives in Washington.

Reach Jonathan at jtamari@phillynews.com.

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