Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cory Booker's Gaffe: Fact or Fiction

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker stands in the middle of a major political controversy after his remarks on NBC's Meet the Press last Sunday. Going off message in an unscripted moment, Booker railed against campaign tactics on both sides of the political discourse in the presidential race.

President Obama is using Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital to negate Romney's claim that involvement at Bain shows he can create jobs. Romney's campaign has been approached to revisit the Obama/Rev. Wright relationship as an issue during the 2012 campaign.

After saying he found the whole situation "nauseating" to the American public, Booker went on to defend Bain Capital as being beneficial to job creation and called Bain an example of how capitalism works, both at its best and its worst. Mind you, this is a widely respected African American politician who is an official surrogate of President Obama's re-election campaign. Needless to say the blogosphere went crazy.

Never willing to miss an advantage, the official GOP established a website and fundraising campaign calling upon the country to join in "I Stand With Cory". After all, Booker had made their argument for big business and an unfettered free market.

Booker quickly tweeted about his comments, made a You Tube video, went on the Rachael Maddow Show to clarify his comments, and repudiated the GOP using his remarks to further their agenda. Booker says his "loyalties are clear" and notes his support of President Obama since his early days in 2007. Booker says his message to the Romney campaign and the GOP is: "I stand with President Obama..."

This incident won't go away.  Booker now stands with Former Tenn. Rep. Harold Ford, Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and other Democrats who have contributed negative comments about the President's using Bain in his campaign. Progressives are trying to figure out what really happened and wonder at the reasons behind Booker's remarks. Personally, I find it hard to believe that these are merely thoughtless, heartfelt remarks from Mayor Booker.  It's hard to even think that he's that naive and careless.  It's easy to believe that the whole scenario garnered him unlimited exposure. Standing up for Bain makes sense politically for Booker some experts said. Whether he runs for mayor, senator or governor, positioning himself close to Wall Street will be important. He might have thought he could manage the fallout.

Only Cory Booker knows for sure what happened that day on Meet The Press, but one things for sure, he lost trust with some Democrats, with many in the Black Community and with me. We expect a knife in the back from some folks, but from Cory Booker, this was a complete surprise.  I'll just keep watching.  Time will tell it all.

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