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Lautenberg's Smackdown Against Booker Lautenberg's Smackdown Against Booker

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Lautenberg's Smackdown Against Booker

Senator compares Newark mayor to one of his disobedient children.

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker speaks at an event before last summer's Democratic National Convention. (Chet Susslin)()

photo of Elahe Izadi
January 22, 2013

The upcoming New Jersey Senate race just got, well, a little more Jersey.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg made his first public comments about Newark Mayor Cory Booker, comparing him to his disobedient children, and suggesting the upstart mayor needed a "spanking." Lautenberg added that the rising political star is "entitled" to run if he wants — even though Lautenberg hasn't decided whether he's running for reelection. Lautenberg turns 89 on Wednesday.

"I have four children, I love each one of them. I can't tell (you) that one of them wasn't occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer, reportedly with a smile. 


Booker's approach has ruffled some feathers back home and Lautenberg aides have anonymously bashed Booker, calling him "disrespectful." Since then, Booker has tamped down his campaign-style rhetoric, and Lautenberg is sounding like he won a round.

Lautenberg also told the newspaper: "I'm sure [Booker] won't be a lone soldier out there drooling at the mouth and wanting this cushy job that we have here."

Indeed, Booker could face some competition: Rep. Frank Pallone is expected to run, though only if Lautenberg retires.;

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