Sunday, December 28, 2014

ICYMI: Will Dems' star Booker challenge his friend Christie?

As Florida delegate Juanita M. Scott waited backstage to meet Booker afterward, she was asked if she had heard his speech.

ICYMI: Will Dems' star Booker challenge his friend Christie?

In Case You Missed It, yesterday I caught up with Newark Mayor Cory Booker -- the most prominent New Jersey Democrat down here at the convention, and perhaps the Democrats' best hope to beat Gov. Christie in next year's gubernatorial election: 

CHARLOTTE - Newark Mayor Cory Booker was rushing from his SUV to his second speech of the morning in front of a packed ballroom of Florida Democrats when the ankle that moves his size-14 right foot got caught on a curb. 

Ankle sprained and 9:15 a.m. speaking time fast approaching, New Jersey's most prominent Democrat refused ice. He refused to get the swelling looked at. Instead, he limped onstage, leaned on the lectern for support, and delivered a 35-minute barn-burner that brought the early-morning Floridian crowd to its feet and, in a couple of instances, to tears.

"You can take out my ankles, you can take out my knees, but I'm still going to stand up for Barack Obama," Booker, 43, told the crowd Tuesday, just hours before he presented the party platform on the floor of the Democratic convention.

As Florida delegate Juanita M. Scott waited backstage to meet Booker afterward, she was asked if she had heard his speech.

"Did I hear him? I wanted to jump into his body and be him," she said, declaring it the best introduction to a politician she had heard since Barack Obama delivered the Democrats' keynote in 2004. "He was flipping awesome."

That reaction is just one reason insiders from both parties say that if Booker chose to take on Gov. Christie next year ("likely not," Booker said in an interview), he would immediately clear the field of other potential Democratic challengers.

But it's not just because of the oratorical skills. Or the 1.2 million Twitter followers who were swiftly treated - or rather, tweeted - with a gory picture Tuesday of Booker's inflamed ankle. Or the biography that includes compiling degrees from Yale, Oxford, and Stanford before choosing to move into a notorious Newark public-housing project.

What really has Democrats from around the country buzzing about a possible gubernatorial challenge - or even something higher than that - is Booker's propensity for heroics, from the sprained-ankle speech to his lifesaving rescue of a neighbor in April from a burning building.

The reason is that a hero is exactly what Democrats may need to beat Christie, whose popularity in the Garden State is hovering around 50 percent and who can raise more money than just about any incumbent in the land.

 Read the rest of the story, here.

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