Cory Booker Says He Never Meant To Criticize Obama During His Clash With Biden

A day after New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker clashed with former Vice President Joe Biden and was seen as critical of former President Barack Obama in the process, Booker said he never meant to criticize the 44th president.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid asked the New Jersey senator, “When then-senator Barack Obama was running for president, his critique was against George W. Bush, so he was able to critique the previous Republican president and launch himself into public prominence that way. … Is Joe Biden in a stronger position with the most reliable black voters, older voters, because he’s defending Obama and you’re critiquing Obama?”

Sen. Booker responded, “Well, I don’t know how that spin resulted. Anybody watching the debate, I was talking about Vice President Biden’s record, not Obama’s.”

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Booker said:

Well, I don’t know how that spin resulted. Anybody watching the debate, I was talking about Vice President Biden’s record, not Obama’s. Heck, I had many conversations with President Obama during his time as president about reforming the criminal justice system. It was Joe Biden that bragged, saying that every crime bill since the 1970s, major and minor, has had his name on it. That’s his words about his record. This is not about the Obama administration at all. I don’t see how that spin came out of this election. This is about a guy that has literally put his name on, championed the bills that created three strikes you’re out, incentivizing states to create longer sentences, having more prisons and jails built from the time I was in law school through the time I was a mayor in the city of Newark. A new prison or jail being built about every 10 days. You know since 1980, our prison population has gone up 500% in this country with an overwhelming disproportionate impacting of African-Americans, even though there’s no difference between blacks and whites in using drugs or dealing drugs. But this drug war has been incarcerating African-Americans at about four times the rate. So that’s nothing to do with Barack Obama, that is the person who said this is my record.

Joe Biden was a key player in the successful Obama administration

It was clear during Wednesday night’s debate that some of the Democratic candidates were so adamant about taking down Joe Biden that they were willing to lob harsh criticisms toward the Obama administration.

A day later, they are learning that there is such a thing as going too far. Democratic primary voters are near-unanimous in their affection for Obama, and many of them didn’t appreciate the attacks.

Some of the candidates, including Kamala Harris, spent their days trying to clear up any confusion about their feelings toward the Obama administration.

During the debate, Booker criticized Biden for frequently invoking the 44th president, but the former VP’s strategy of linking himself to Barack Obama – an incredibly popular and successful former president – is smart.

Whether Biden’s Democratic opponents like it or not, his time working alongside the 44th president – preventing a depression, saving the auto industry, passing the Affordable Care Act, and much more – has given him that right.

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