Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat who landed in hot water with his party on Sunday after criticizing President Obama’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital, may have found an unexpected ally in left-wing activist Van Jones.
“An urban mayor who nearly DIED saving neighbor from a fire, has earned right 2 demand integrity & courage from other leaders,” Jones tweeted on Tuesday in a message addressed to Booker’s Twitter handle.
Booker, who indeed did save a neighbor from a burning building earlier this year, has been on the receiving end of much criticism from Democrats and liberal pundits for calling the Obama campaign’s attacks on private equity “nauseating.”
“As far as that stuff, I have to say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” Booker said on “Meet the Press” Sunday. “It’s just, to me, we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America.”
MSNBC host and former Democratic political operative Chris Matthews blasted Booker’s comments as an “act of sabotage,” while the left-wing ThinkProgress website highlighted the donations he received from private equity executives during in his first run for mayor in 2002.
While he is a popular figure in Democratic circles, the charismatic Booker has staked out a position as a moderate, business-friendly politician who occasionally butts heads with his party’s liberal establishment. In his unsuccessful 2002 bid against longtime Democratic Newark Mayor Sharpe James, for example, Booker courted Republican donors even as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson came to Newark to campaign against him. Booker was elected mayor in 2006, while James was sent to prison on corruption charges and is now eyeing a political comeback.
In office, Booker has focused on crime reduction and bringing business back to Newark. In 2008, as Dave Weigel notes, he led a drive to keep Starbucks open in the city.
Although normally associated with the far-left of the Democratic Party, Jones, the former Obama administration “green czar,” also appears to be taking less partisan stances as of late, including criticizing Attorney General Eric Holder’s handling of the Fast and Furious scandal.
Booker, meanwhile, has been furiously back-peddling from his Sunday comments and reiterating his support for Obama’s re-election campaign.