Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker was in great demand after his now famous flip-flop on private equity from "Meet The Press" on Sunday morning. However, the Newark mayor was only available for comment on one show, the "Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC.
Booker's appearance on Maddow's Monday night program was a curious one. The expanded segment (more than 17 minutes long) attacked the GOP for jumping on Obama's admitted "surrogate" and using his statement and flip-flop in an online campaign called "I Stand With Cory." Additionally, he admitted the White House contacted him following his initial comments.
In the opening of the lengthy segment, Maddow spent considerable time talking about the statement made by Booker and his subsequent YouTube retraction (or "clarification" as Maddow called it).
However, it seemed strange that MSNBC would not play the video of the actual statement made by Mayor Booker. The network owns the rights to the clip, so that could not be the problem.
Why didn't MSNBC run Booker's video? Is it possible that seeing the video of Booker making those statements would actually be more damaging than just hearing them? Watch as Ms. Maddow only reads selected statements from the mayor's appearance on Meet The Press, and yet, Ms. Maddow played a parade of "off message" statements from some Romney supporters.
Did Maddow just say that Democrats don't jump on any "off message statements" made by the GOP? Has she not seen any of the ads or emails showing earlier campaign statements made by Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, or any GOP candidate who has since been defeated by Romney in the primaries?
As far as being pressured by the White House or the Obama campaign, Booker admits he talked with them after his initial remarks but maintains he was not pressured to release the separate video:
Booker's wide-eyed appearance on the show also seemed to mirror the tone of his YouTube "clarification." He had a prepared statement that would reaffirm his surrogate status while pitching the campaign's talking points against Romney and the GOP.
In this clip, Booker says that a President Romney would do the following:
- Further bankrupt our city - (Did Romney bankrupt Newark? Has the candidate said that his policies would "further bankrupt" it?)
- Close off opportunity - He doesn't say how or what Romney has pledged to do this.
- Discriminate against gays and women - No clarification here either.
- And do the kind of things I think are sending America in the wrong direction - More vagueness
Booker says that he feels used by the GOP. Is he a victim? Is the mayor who likes to be seen as a local super hero really feeling like he was being bullied or used by the GOP?
A more honest appraisal of the sequence of events would probably show that the Obama campaign was in the bullying role here. How long after the mayor's off message statement did he hear from the White House? Booker admits to hearing from the White House.
Concerning the "Stand with Cory" slogan, Booker was very direct in his feelings about that.
(Again, the freeze frame is the same, but the content in this short clip is very different:)
Mayor Booker wraps up the segment by proclaiming that he has been "used" by the GOP. But he also states that this has only made him more committed to working for President Obama's re-election:
Booker may be "fired up and ready to go" for Obama, but we wonder if the campaign will be as quick to call on the Newark Mayor as they have been in the past?