Cory Booker Slams Obama Over Romney Ad, Then Backtracks. Sort Of

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Cory Booker, an ardent supporter of Barack Obama, took an unusual swipe at the President on Sunday over his campaign’s Bain Capital attack ad against presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

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In the ad, construction workers who worked for companies owned by Bain Capital accuse Romney, the firm’s former CEO, of overseeing massive layoffs of blue-collar workers while protecting suit-wear executives.

The ad did not bode too well with Booker.

“As far as that stuff, I’d have to say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” Booker said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press. To me we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America. I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital. “If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this, to me, I’m very uncomfortable with.”

The Star-Ledger reports that Booker’s campaign has raised funds from Wall Street firm.

(But what politician doesn’t?)

SEE Bain Capital Attack Ad Below


It looked as if Booker was positioning himself as a politician who is “above the silliness of D.C. politics.” But, as the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake report, the New Jersey Democrat made a rookie mistake during his prime time appearance based on an old D.C. political saying: “In Washington, there’s an old cliche: A gaffe is when a politician is accidentally honest.”

Here is a breakdown of Cillizza and Blake’s take on the aftermath of Booker’s comments:

Not surprisingly, Republicans immediately seized on Booker’s comments as a way to push back on the attacks launched by President Obama’s campaign on Romney’s record in the private sector. The Republican National Committee quickly distributed the Booker comment to reporters via e-mail, Twitter and even Tumblr.

Meanwhile, Democrats scrambled to contain the damage.

Booker, one of the most tech- and social media-savvy politicians in the country — he has more than a million Twitter followers — posted a video on You Tube that attempted to re-frame his comments as broadly supportive of the president and said he “encouraged” Obama to make an issue out of Romney’s record at Bain.

Actually, Booker did not completely back off of his support of Bain Capital during his YouTube appearance. However, he did clarify his unflinching support for President Obama and said what he should have voiced during his appearance on “Meet The Press” on Sunday.

“In fact, I believe that Mitt Romney, in many ways, is not being completely honest with his role and his record even while a business person. And he is shaping it to serve his political interests and not necessarily including all of the facts during his time (at Bain Capital).”

Cory Booker ‘Clarifies’ His Remarks


Were Booker’s comments that Bain Capital, in its “totality,” truly reflective of the firm? Perhaps they were. But he looked, just for a second, like a man who jumped ship and began supporting the other team. He certainly didn’t mean to do so. But the GOP can sure make it look like he did.

So, as The Post reported, Booker needs to be careful about how he shares his true feelings during the campaign. Otherwise, the GOP can turn them into political weapons to harm the man Booker wants to see elected to the White House for one more term.

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