Obama with Booker, right, after Booker endorsed the then-senator for president, May 14, 2007. (AP/File)
Newark Mayor Cory Booker slammed the Obama campaign's ad criticizing Mitt Romney's record as the head of Bain Capital and called for an end to"nauseating" attacks from both sides.
"I have to just say from a very personal level, I'm not about to sit here and indict private equity," Booker, a Democrat, said in an appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday. "To me, it's just we're getting to a ridiculous point in America. Especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people invest 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."
The ad—released last week by the Obama re-election campaign—makes Booker, who endorsed Obama for president in 2008, "very uncomfortable," he said.
"This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides," Booker continued. "It's nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop, because what it does is it undermines, to me, what this country should be focused on. It's a distraction from the real issues."
After Sunday's "Meet The Press" broadcast, Booker took to his favorite medium—Twitter—to clarify his comments.
"I will fight hard for Obama to win," Booker wrote. "But just as his '08 campaign did, I believe we must elevate [and] not denigrate. This is the Obama I know."
"We as 'the electorate' must also bear responsibility for changing the tone of politics as usual," he continued. "Not just root harder for our side ... I'm sick to my stomach of the politics of destruction. We now have a [federal government] that can't come together [and] solve our nation's problems. I'll always prioritize my nation over a political party. [And] right now crass divisive partisan politics is not serving the citizens of my city."
"Yes, Obama must be re-elected. But we as a Nation owe it to him and ourselves to reject politics as usual," Booker added. "The politics as we are now playing it calls to our lessor angels [and] lowest common denominators. Our nation can and should reject this."
Booker took his clarification a step further, posting a nearly-four-minute YouTube video "expanding" on his support for Obama:
Sen. John McCain, meanwhile, took to Twitter to thank Booker.
"If Cory Booker went on 'Meet the Press' on Sunday with the intent of helping President Obama," Steve Kornacki wrote on Salon.com, "then his appearance was an utter failure."
But as Salon and others pointed out, Booker was likely looking to further his own political ambitions—say, in 2016, when the Democratic party will be looking for its next presidential nominee.
Perhaps, Booker was still smarting over the New Jersey Devils' 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Newark.
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