The Fix: Cory Booker

Cory Booker will fit into Washington just fine. But what about the Senate?

Cory Booker will fit into Washington just fine. But what about the Senate?

On Thursday, Cory Booker went from being No. 1 to No. 100.

Put another way, the New Jersey Democrat was sworn in as the newest member of the Senate, leaving behind his position as mayor of Newark to embark on a career in a chamber steeped in hierarchy as the new kid on the block with the least seniority. While there’s little doubt Booker will fit neatly on the national stage, the question is whether his larger-than-life persona will mesh with his new job or not.

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Why Cory Booker’s expected Senate debut could hardly come at a more turbulent time

Why Cory Booker’s expected Senate debut could hardly come at a more turbulent time

Barring a major surprise, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) will be Sen.-elect Cory Booker by day’s end.

It’s hard to imagine a more turbulent and pivotal moment for Booker -- who, if he wins, could be sworn in as early as this week -- to enter the Senate. His first vote might be on a bill to reopen the government and pull the country back from the brink of a debt ceiling disaster.

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Cory Booker: Man of mystery

Cory Booker: Man of mystery

Barring a major surprise, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) is set to cruise to victory in October’s Senate special election, spurring many questions in recent weeks about what kind of senator he would be.

It remains a mystery, notes The Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz, in a fantastic profile of Booker that lays bare the mayor’s ambition, loquaciousness, and the uncertainty that surrounds his future in Washington. (It even offers a peek at his stand-up comedy stylings.) Writes Horowitz:

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Former Obama hands are leading Cory Booker's campaign. Why that could matter in 2014.

Former Obama hands are leading Cory Booker's campaign. Why that could matter in 2014.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) is running for the Senate in 2013. But arguably the most interesting part of his campaign is what it says about Democratic strategy in the 2014 midterm elections.

Booker's campaign team, a roster full of strategists who worked on President Obama's reelection effort, have deployed a turnout model and strategy cut from the same cloth as the Obama campaigns. The result, they say, is the foundation of an approach Democrats hope to deploy in 2014.

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Why Cory Booker is set to become the highest-profile Democratic senator

Why Cory Booker is set to become the highest-profile Democratic senator

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) took another step toward the Senate Tuesday when he easily won the Democratic nomination in New Jersey. Republican nominee Steve Lonegan isn't expected to be more than an also-ran against Booker, meaning the Newark mayor has basically punched his ticket to Washington.

Which raises the question: What kind of senator would Booker be? From the get-go, he would be poised to become the highest-profile member of the Democratic Caucus.

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Five reasons Cory Booker is set to cruise to victory Tuesday

Five reasons Cory Booker is set to cruise to victory Tuesday

New Jersey voters will head to the polls Tuesday to choose nominees for the race to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D). And on the Democratic side, the only real question mark is Newark Mayor Cory Booker's margin of victory. Yes, it's been that one-sided.

The obvious question is why — as in why is Booker such a prohibitive front-runner? Here are the five biggest reasons:

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Rush Holt is no Cory Booker. And he's just fine with that.

Rush Holt is no Cory Booker. And he's just fine with that.

Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), in his own words, is no Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D).

"I'll be the first to admit, I'm no Cory Booker," Holt says in an introductory campaign video released Wednesday. "I don't have a million Twitter followers, I've never run into a burning building, and I'm not friends with Mark Zuckerberg, though I did like him on Facebook."

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An October governor's election in New Jersey? Not going to happen.

An October governor's election in New Jersey? Not going to happen.

Some New Jersey Democrats have come up with a novel idea: If Gov. Chris Christie (R) wants to spend millions holding an October special election, why not move his own election from November to October to save money?

It's an interesting plan worth looking at in a bit more detail. But the bottom line is that it's simply not going to happen.

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Why Cory Booker's relationship with Chris Christie (probably) won't hurt him

Why Cory Booker's relationship with Chris Christie (probably) won't hurt him

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) have a pretty warm relationship. And Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone's not a fan.

Pallone's hoping to exploit the the Christie-Booker bromance to his advantage in the Democratic Senate primary. While the tactic may yet work (it's too early to say), Christie's widespread popularity that extends even to Democrats suggests the more likely bet is that it won't.

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Edward Snowden's Ron Paul connection

Winners and losers from Chris Christie's special election decision

Winners and losers from Chris Christie's special election decision

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's decision to set a special election to fill late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's seat for October 16 (with a primary on Aug. 13) carries important implications for several prominent Democrats and Republicans. Some are good, some are bad. And that goodness (or badness) doesn't cut clearly along party lines.

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Christie faces key decision over appointment to Lautenberg seat

Christie faces key decision over appointment to Lautenberg seat

Appointing a replacement following the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and setting a special election for his seat will be up to Gov. Chris Christie (R).

For Christie, the decision is more difficult than it may seem. Deciding on an appointment won't be easy. And opaque special election laws offer little clarity on what comes next.

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Cory Booker: '2014 is a long way off'

Cory Booker: '2014 is a long way off'

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) said Sunday that his immediate attention is focused on helping Democrats win in this year's slate of New Jersey elections more than it is on next year's Senate race.

"Right now we have one election in New Jersey, which is our state-wide gubernatorial and legislative elections," Booker said on CBS News' "Face The Nation." "As a Democrat in New Jersey, that's where my focus is. Next year's election for Senate will take care of itself, and again, I hope to be one of those people that the residents of New Jersey will consider giving that honor of fighting for them on a federal level."

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How old is Frank Lautenberg? Don't ask his constituents.

Update 4:03 p.m.: Lautenberg announced shortly after this post went up that he will not seek reelection.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg's (D-N.J.) age is sure to be an issue if he faces a primary against Newark Mayor Cory Booker in 2014.

As of now, though, his age remains a complete mystery to most New Jerseyans.

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Frank Lautenberg is almost 90. Does it matter?

Frank Lautenberg is almost 90. Does it matter?

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) turned 89 this week. And, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who is preparing to challenge Lautenberg in a Democratic primary next year, has already made clear that the the incumbent's time may have passed.

With that as a backdrop, this tweet on Wednesday caught our attention:

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Why Cory Booker could run into roadblocks in New Jersey

Why Cory Booker could run into roadblocks in New Jersey

Two and a half weeks ago, Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) made two things clear: He's not challenging Gov. Chris Christie (R) this year, and he's seriously exploring a run for the Senate in 2014.

What's become less clear in the short time since Booker addressed his political future is how he fits into the 2014 Senate picture. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) has left the prospect of another campaign on the table while a well-funded member of the House also has reportedly expressed interest in the seat.

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Cory Booker points to policy differences with Christie on 'The Daily Show' (video)

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) said Wednesday that he has "policy differences" with Gov. Chris Christie (R) that could spur him to challenge the Republican in 2013.

"There are definite areas where I disagree with the governor, and that's what I'm considering right now -- is it worthy of a run," Booker told Jon Stewart in an interview on "The Daily Show."

Booker said Sunday that he intends to decide within a couple of weeks whether he will make a bid. Recent polling shows the mayor would be the most formidable Democrat against Christie.

Booker elaborated on one specific policy difference with Christie, whom he called a "friend." He said disagreed with Christie decision's to cut an earned income tax credit.

Booker also discussed poverty, his food stamp challenge, and his fondness for social networking tools.

Check out the clip of the exchange about Christie below. You can view the entire interview here.

For Cory Booker, the Senate is the ticket

We're still waiting to hear whether Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) will challenge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) next year. But don't hold your breath.

If polling is any indication, Booker would be much, much wiser to focus his sights on the state's 2014 Senate race.

Polling early this week showed Christie with approval ratings peaking over 70 percent after Hurricane Sandy, and one showed him leading Booker by 18 points in a potential 2013 matchup.

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Chris Christie will make 2013 bid for reelection

Chris Christie will make 2013 bid for reelection

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will run for reelection in 2013, a top political adviser has confirmed to The Fix.

Christie political adviser Mike DuHaime said theRepublican incumbentfiled paperwork earlier Monday to run for a second term. The governor's decision is not a surprise, though until now, he had not officially said whether or not he would pursue a second term.

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Waiting for Cory Booker

Waiting for Cory Booker

The off-year governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia are always seen as a measure of the political environment a year after a presidential election.

But at least one and possibly both of the 2013 governor's races could be less-than-marquee contests. And whether they will or won't be very much depends on two men: Cory Booker and (to a lesser extent) Mark Warner.

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Cory Booker’s communications director resigns

Cory Booker’s communications director resigns

Cory Booker’s communications director Anne Torres resigned today, a departure that comes just eight days after the Newark Mayor created a major national controversy with his comments regarding the 2012 presidential campaign.

“I just decided it is best if I pursued other opportunities,” Torres told the Newark Star Ledger. “We have very different views on how communications should be run.”

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How Cory Booker won

Newark Mayor Cory Booker clearly misspoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday when he lumped attacks on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital into the same category as attacks on President Obama’s connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright.


Newark Mayor Cory Booker's right hand is bandaged as he stands in his driveway between a boarded-up 433 Hawthorne Avenue and next his home, left, in Newark, N.J., Friday, April 13, 2012 as he talks about rescuing a neighbor Thursday from fire at the home. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Booker has spent the last three days kind-of, sort-of walking those comments back, insisting that he never meant to conflate Bain and Wright while holding firm on his condemnation of the negative campaigning in both parties. (Booker called the tone of the campaign “nauseating”.)

Conventional wisdom dictates that Booker’s gaffe hurts him politically. Conventional wisdom could well be wrong.

“While he may take grief in the short run, it will only serve to benefit him in the long run,” argued one senior Democratic party operative granted anonymity to speak candidly about such a politically sensitive topic.

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Obama on Bain: ‘This is what the campaign is going to be about’

Updated at 5:51 p.m.

President Obama on Monday declined to back down from his campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital despite criticism from some Democrats.

Asked at a press conference in Chicago about criticism from Newark Mayor Cory Booker regarding his campaign’s attacks on Romney’s work in private equity, Obama defended the tactic and said it’s fair game in a race where Romney has played up his business credentials.

“This is not a distraction,” Obama said. “This is what this campaign is going to be about.”

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Corporations are (Democratic) people, too

If there’s one lasting lesson of the Cory Booker saga over the weekend, it’s that nothing in politics is as clear cut as it seems.

Democrats have been trying all election cycle to make the coming race about the rich paying their fair share, reining in fat cat bankers and helping the 99 percent, with Mitt Romney serving as the foil.

That’s a great strategy — except for when you and/or your Democratic friends need the financial support of the 1 percent to win elections and make money.

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Cory Booker’s next move, and why it might take a while

We here at The Fix are — admittedly — a fan of the political parlor game. We’re always looking for the next big thing in politics, the next potential president, senator or governor.

So when Newark Mayor Cory Booker saves his neighbor from a burning house, needless to say, we take notice.


Newark Mayor Cory Booker talks during a news conference outside of the Prudential Center, Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The episode was simply the latest in a long line in a storybook-like political rise, and Booker has long been the subject of speculation about his future. As a young, telegenic, social media-savvy (more than one million Twitter followers) and popular mayor just across the river from New York City, he’s hard to ignore.

The question for a long time, then, has been is what is next for Booker.

The problem, though, is that his state isn’t great for a rising star.

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