Newark Mayor Cory Booker hit back on Monday night after the GOP pounced on his comments that the negative advertising by both campaigns is “nauseating” and that he is “uncomfortable” with the Obama campaign’s attacks on presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s time at the private equity firm Bain Capital.
The rising Democratic star said on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show that the GOP crossed a line on Monday with press releases, sound bites, and even a petition on the GOP website urging voters to “Stand with Cory.”
“My outrage and frustration was about the cynical, negative campaign, the manipulating of the truth,” Booker said of the remarks he made on Meet the Press on Sunday. “And here they are plucking soundbites out from that interview to manipulate them in a cynical manner and use them for their own purposes.”
Booker stressed that he has been an Obama supporter for his entire political career, and is “upset” with how the GOP has twisted his words. He posed a challenge to the GOP, invoking the Obama campaign’s new rallying cry.
“Today to the GOP I say I welcome you to stand with me,” he said. “Stand with me for moving America forward.”
Booker said he had spoken with Obama campaign officials since his Meet the Press appearance, but that they had not forced him to change his stance. He said Obama's remarks on Monday, defending the tack of ripping Romney's private-equity past, had helped persuade him to speak out, further seeking to adjust the record after he taped a YouTube video on Sunday in the aftermath of his Sunday-show appearance.
On Maddow, Booker said, “[Obama] was not condemning any particular firms. He was focusing in on a guy who is bragging about his job creation record. To me, I think that's fair game.”
Earlier Monday, senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said Booker's Sunday comments had been "just wrong," arguing that Romney's decision to put his business record front and center in the campaign legitimized the line of Democratic attack.