Lautenberg responds to Cory Booker

In his first public comments on Newark Mayor Cory Booker's decision to run for his seat, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) suggested his potential primary rival was like a misbehaving child.

"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 okay," Lautenberg told the Philadelphia Inquirer.Aides and allies of Lautenberg have criticized Booker for launching a campaign without waiting for the senator to decide whether or not to run again. Polling finds Booker in a strong position in a Democratic primary.

Lautenberg, who turns 89 on Wednesday, has yet to announce his own plans. He said the mayor was "entitled" to run but would have to work for the seat, regardless of what happens.

"He'll have to stand on his record and I'm sure he won't be a lone soldier out there drooling at the mouth and wanting this cushy job that we have here," the senator said.

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Rachel Weiner | January 22, 2013