- The Washington Times - Friday, August 2, 2019

Sen. Cory A. Booker on Thursday said his critique of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s record on criminal justice issues wasn’t about former President Barack Obama, who remains deeply popular among Democrats and African-Americans.

“This is not about the Obama administration at all. I don’t see how that spin came out of this,” he said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” “Anybody who watched the debate, I was talking about Vice President Biden’s record, not Obama‘s.”

Mr. Booker said he had “many conversations” with Mr. 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,” the New Jersey Democrat said. “That’s his words about his record.”

At Wednesday’s Democratic presidential primary debate, Mr. Booker told Mr. Biden he can’t tie himself to his former boss only when it’s politically convenient. Some of the candidates had also questioned Mr. Obama’s record on immigration and deportations.

Mr. Booker, who has been polling in the low single digits, said Thursday that he’s still introducing himself to voters while Mr. Biden, the current front-runner, has near-universal name recognition.

“We need to not only have a person that polls high in the African-American community but can energize that community in a dramatic way, in the way that Obama was able to accomplish,” he said. “I think I’m the best person to do that.”

“We need folks that can speak to the heart, to the gut, as well as to the head, and that can have the kind of theme that can rally, unite, inspire and engage everyone in this party,” the senator said.

Mr. Booker also said on Thursday that while policy is important, President Trump is proof that candidates with the best ideas don’t always win.

“The policy plans are really important, but remember, we have not always seen the person with the best policy plans become the president of the United States,” Mr. Booker said. “Case in point, where we are right now.”

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