Cory Booker Says Democratic Nominee Shouldn’t Be ‘Just’ a ‘Safe Bet’ in Knock of Biden

August 21, 2019 Updated: August 21, 2019

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) knocked former Vice President Joe Biden, telling a crowd that the 2020 Democratic nominee shouldn’t be a “safe bet.”

Booker, speaking on Aug. 21, told the crowd that “the next leader of our party can’t be someone that is a safe bet.”

“‘Oh let’s just find the person who can triangulate and get this done so we can beat Donald Trump,'” he said, reported Fox News. “I’m running in this election because I know we can do more than that.”

Booker didn’t mention Biden by name at the Iowa Federation Labor Convention in Altoona but was clearly referring to him as Biden’s camp focused this week on his electability, championing his constant presence at the top of polls, dismissing the string of statements he’s made that have gotten places, dates, and other facts wrong, and claiming he’s the best choice to beat President Trump.

Sen. Cory Booker and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) (L) and then-Vice President Joe Biden beckon to Booker’s family after a ceremonial swearing-in with his mother Carolyn Booker in the Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Oct. 31, 2013. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In his first television ad, set to run in Iowa, a narrator says: “We have to beat Donald Trump and all the polls agree Joe Biden is the strongest Democrat to do the job. No one is more qualified.”

Biden slammed a Fox reporter on Tuesday when the reporter said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appeared to be drawing larger crowds than him.

“I mean, I know you, I know you’re going to go after me no matter what I’ve got. Yeah, you and it’s OK. Good. I’m a big boy. I can handle it,” Biden said, before adding: “But … I notice you didn’t ask me why I’m ahead in all the polls still. I notice you didn’t ask me how I feel about the new CNN poll.”

“I don’t think they matter. I don’t think a particular crowd size matters. This is a this is a marathon. This is a marathon. They’re gonna change, there’s going to be ups and downs,” he added.

Booker previously joined Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in criticizing Biden over the former vice president’s record on criminal justice and the then-Senator’s role in helping write and pass a crime bill in 1994.

Booker said that Biden should apologize for working with segregationists, and Biden hit back saying Booker should apologize.

The former vice president ultimately said he was “sorry for any of the pain or misconception” regarding his comments about desegregated school busing.

“Should that misstep define 30 years of my record of fighting for civil rights and racial justice in this country? I hope not. I don’t think so,” Biden said. “That just isn’t an honest assessment of my record.”

Back in July when Booker said Biden was the “architect” of mass incarceration, referring to the ’94 bill, caused Biden to retort, “Cory knows that’s not true,” before adding: “His police department was stopping and frisking mostly African American men. If he wants to go back and talk about records, I’m happy to do that. But I’d rather talk about the future.”

At the CNN debates later that month, Booker and Biden were on stage during the same night. Booker told Biden: “If you want to compare records—and, frankly, I’m shocked that you do—I am happy to do that. Because all the problems that he is talking about, that he created, I actually led the bill that got passed into law that reverses the damage that your bills that you were, frankly—to correct you, Mr. Vice President—you were bragging, calling it the Biden crime bill, up until 2015.”

“There’s a saying in my community, you’re dipping into the Kool-Aid and you don’t even know the flavor. You need to come to the city of Newark and see the reforms that we put in place,” the senator added.

“The New Jersey head of the ACLU has said that I embraced reforms not just in action, but in deeds. Sir, you are trying to shift the view from what you created. There are people right now in prison for life for drug offenses because you stood up and used that ‘tough on crime’ phony rhetoric that got a lot of people elected but destroyed communities like mine.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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