Obama appears in campaign ad for Cory Booker

Dylan Stableford

With just two days left in the race and his lead in the polls shrinking, New Jersey Senate hopeful Cory Booker released a short campaign ad featuring a high-profile supporter: President Barack Obama.

"On Wednesday, voters in New Jersey have the opportunity to vote for a leader with uncommon character, Cory Booker," President Obama says in the one-minute ad endorsing the Newark mayor for U.S. Senate. "New Jersey also has an opportunity to send a message to the entire country about what kind of leadership we expect from our representatives in Congress. We're better than the shutdown politics we've seen in Washington."

The release of the ad comes two days after former Alaskan governor and tea party favorite Sarah Palin appeared at a rally in New Jersey to stump for Steve Lonegan, Booker's opponent in Wednesday's special election to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Frank Lautenberg's death in June.

A poll released last week by Quinnipiac University showed Booker's lead over Lonegan — which was 28 points in August — had been cut to 12 points. And according to a poll released Monday by Monmouth University, Booker's lead is down to 10.

Booker, Obama says, "has spent his entire life bringing people with different perspectives together, regardless of party, to take on tough challenges. Take it from me: Now more than ever before, that's the kind of leader we need in the Senate."

The Newark mayor was one of Obama's earliest supporters. But during the 2012 presidential election, Booker slammed an Obama campaign 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 said. "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."

Booker was forced 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."