Booker Bundling for Obama

Unclear if fundraising is payback for criticizing campaign messaging


Newark Mayor Cory Booker recently became a bundler for President Obama’s reelection campaign, records show. The move comes several weeks after the high-profile Democrat criticized the campaign’s negative attacks on private equity.

The Obama campaign’s updated list of “volunteer fundraisers,” released late Friday, includes a “Mayor Cory Booker” of Newark, N.J., as having pledged to bundle between $200,000 and $500,000 in donations.

Booker, who already serves as an official surrogate for the president, created a stir in May when he strongly denounced the Obama campaign’s “nauseating” attacks on Bain Capital, the private equity firm where Republican challenger Mitt Romney worked before becoming governor of Massachusetts.

“If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses; this to me, I’m very uncomfortable,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “This stuff has got to stop.”

The Newark mayor was one of many prominent Democrats to criticize the campaign over the Bain attacks.

Booker later sought to walk back his remarks in a YouTube message that was widely mocked as having the appearance of a “hostage” video. In it, he echoed the Obama campaign’s line that attacks on Bain Capital were “reasonable” because Romney had made his experience there “a centerpiece of his campaign.”

Booker acknowledged speaking to Obama campaign officials following his appearance on Meet the Press, but also said, “They didn’t force me to do anything.”

Senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that Booker was “wrong” to criticize the Bain attacks and “probably heard from a lot of people who feel that [Bain is] a legitimate issue.”

Booker’s communications director Anne Torres abruptly resigned in the wake of the controversy. Sources told the Politicker NJ the move was directly related to the mayor’s Meet the Press appearance.

The Obama campaign did not immediately return the Washington Free Beacon’s request for comment on whether Booker’s new role as a bundler is a form penance for his off-message remarks.

A USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday suggests that the Obama campaign’s attack on Romney’s record at Bain Capital may not be as effective as originally thought. By a margin of more than 2-to-1, respondents said Romney’s business background, including his record at Bain, would cause him to make good decisions with respect to the economy.

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