Sen. Lautenberg : Cory Booker Needs ‘Spanking’


130111_cory_booker_ap_605Sen. Frank Lautenberg suggests Newark Mayor Cory Booker needs a “spanking.”

In the Democrat’s first public comments since Booker announced his intention to seek the Senate seat Lautenberg now holds, the veteran New Jersey senator likened the ambitious mayor to a “disrespectful” child.

“I have four children; I love each one of them,” Lautenberg told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I can’t tell (you) that one of them wasn’t occasionally disrespectful, so I gave them a spanking and everything was OK.”

There’s been no such thing as polite among Democrats who are openly coveting Lautenberg’s seat, which is among the 20 Democrats will defend in 2014. Lautenberg, who turns 89 on Wednesday, has not said whether he will run again. Booker has filed the paperwork forming a Senate campaign committee, while Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., has said he’d like to run.

It sounds like Lautenberg was feisty, telling the Inquirer that Booker is certainly “entitled” to run for the Senate. His fellow Democrat might have some competition, he added.

“I’m sure he won’t be a lone soldier out there drooling at the mouth and wanting this cushy job we have here,”

The senator told the Gannett Washington Bureau that he’s not thinking about retirement right now.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do yet — serious things,” he told our colleague Malia Rulon Herman. “We pride ourselves … on getting things done. And that’s the focus. I’m not thinking about politics right now.”

The 43-year-old Booker has built a national profile since assuming office in Newark in 2006, and not just for his politics, which have included an experiment in which he lived on food stamps for a week. In April last year, he rushed into a burning building and rescued a neighbor.

The New Jersey Democratic Party’s eye had been on Booker for months as he weighed whether to challenge popular Gov. Chris Christie in his re-election bid this year or aim for Lautenberg’s seat in 2014.

Booker announced last month that he planned to explore a run for Senate and finish out his term in Newark.

“As I explore a run for the United States Senate, I look forward to consulting with Senator Frank Lautenberg,” he said. “It would be a privilege, an honor, to continue his legacy of service.”