NEWARK – Fresh off a Motown workout with Newark seniors at the John F. Kennedy Recreation Center, Mayor Cory Booker reveled in running with the underdog in a high stakes political contest in which his candidate just took a hit.
Booker’s an at-large delegate for Sen. Barack Obama, who lost to Sen. Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary in Pennsylvania in their ongoing war to be the party’s presidential nominee.
“We could have closed the door on her if she had won with under ten points,” said the mayor. “The bottom line is we have to continue to fight. We’ve got her on the ropes. She has no real path to victory.
“We have been underdogs from the beginning,” Booker added of the team that now claims the edge in pledged delegates and cash but which has been unable to flatten Clinton as the candidates headtoward Indiana and North Carolina.
The mayor said he hadn’t seen a television advertisement run by the Clinton campaign, which featured an image of terrorist Osama Bin Laden, and didn’t feel comfortable commenting on it specifically.
As far as Clinton’s repeated badgering of Obama’s oratory as “just words,” the mayor said, “That’s the reality of a political campaign. People are always going to attack you, no matter what your strengths are. If a person has a particular talent, like public speaking, that’s going to be a target.”
The mayor said Obama blends inspiring speech-making, action and good judgement.
“Both candidates have articulated plans for how we can get out of Iraq,” Booker said. “But Obama earlier than Clinton saw the war for what it was.”
Referring to some of the obstacles his presidential candidate has already encountered in his primary run, Booker said, “It’s clear that Obama as president would be a powerful challenge to the world.”
Booker, who turned 39 over the weekend, is coming up on his second full year as mayor of Newark.
“I’m trying to stay in shape to keep up with my seniors,” he told a gymful of the elderly Newark residents in the Central Ward recreation complex, moments before he threw off his suit jacket and joined them for a few rousing dance numbers.