Cory Booker‘s relationship with President Barack Obama has soured to the point that a top administration official says that the Newark mayor is “dead to us,” the New York Post reports.
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Booker was trying to position himself for a cabinet position in Obama’s administration if the President wins a second term. But his chance was likely shot dead when he got diarrhea of the mouth on NBC news program “Meet The Press” on May 20.
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Asked to appear on the show to be a “mouth piece” for Obama’s campaign, Booker went way off script criticizing the President over his attack ad on Mitt Romney‘s record at private-equity firm Bain Capital.
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“I have to just say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” said Booker. “If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses.”
Obviously, Obama’s camp wasn’t please. Here is what happened next:
Almost immediately, top Obama aides were speed-dialing Booker, insisting he backpedal from his comments before returning to the Garden State. But the mayor wouldn’t do that.
Booker further enraged them by waiting until that night to post an online video that was neither cleared by the campaign nor acceptable to Obama strategists.
And then Booker did it again. The next night, he went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show to talk about his earlier comments without discussing it with the campaign or working out a cohesive message with Obama’s team. During that appearance, Booker threw even more fuel on the fire when he made it look as if he had been ordered to retract his comments because he decided to “clarify” them after “he did talk with campaign officials.”
Though Obama campaign officials are trying to temper down rumors that Booker’s relationship with the White House is “dead,” one person said that the mayor knows he has work to do to get right with 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“What he did was undermine a leading argument for the campaign. It was a serious distraction. Not a minor screw-up; a major screw-up,” a Democratic source said. “He is trying to figure out how to work his way back in the fold.”
Booker is lucky Obama is even considering giving him a second chance. The way he went off script on “Meet The Press” one has to wonder whether or not he is thinking of pulling an Arlen Specter and switching parties?
Booker, a Rhodes Scholar, is not a dumb man. But he forgot one basic rule of life that even my second grade-educated grandmother knew: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you!