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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.

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

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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