Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., called a new Obama campaign attack ad on Bain Capital “nauseating,” during an appearance on Meet the Press Sunday. As a surrogate for the Obama re-election campaign, the comments appeared “off-script,” but he was praised by conservatives, including John McCain via Twitter and Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe.
Using words like “ridiculous” and saying such attack ads made him “very uncomfortable,” the mayor suggested this type of campaigning, on both sides, is a “distraction from the real issues.”
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Salon.com’s Steve Kornacki labeled Booker the “surrogate from hell,” and said his comments were possibly meant to further his “own long-term political prospects.”
Kornacki also reminds readers why Booker might not want to, in the mayor’s words, “indict private equity.”
The allies he’s cultivated on Wall Street and in the financial industry (think, for instance, of his chummy relationship with Michael Bloomberg) have made Booker a prolific fundraiser, and when he ventured into the ultra-expensive statewide game, he’ll need them more than ever. Many of them have turned fiercely against Obama over the past few years, convinced that he’s unfairly targeted them.
Booker tried to soften his comments later in the day with a YouTube video, praising the “strong job” that President Obama has done and clarifying that he hates negative ads only because it means serious issues don’t get through. “I get very upset when I see such a level of dialogue,” he said.
He also suggested that Mitt Romney is not being entirely honest about his role and legacy at Bain Capital.