Cory Booker went on The Rachel Maddow Show Monday to continue his damage control efforts.
As you've no doubt heard, the Newark mayor went on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday and described as "nauseating" the Obama campaign's attacks on Bain Capital -- the private equity firm Mitt Romney ran -- for its record of laying off workers at the companies it acquired. Booker later tried to walk the comments back, but the Romney campaign and its allies pounced on them in an effort to undermine the Obama camp's attack.
Here's a quick rundown of what Booker said to Rachel:
On whether the Bain attack is really fair game: "When [Romney] says, I'm a job creator, I think that's a characterization of his record that deserves inquiry, and I think the way the president himself is talking about is something I will defend, in fact something I will echo."
On the RNC's effort to exploit Booker's comments by launching an "I Stand With Cory Booker" petition: "Here they are plucking soundbytes out of that interview to manipulate them in a cynical manner, to use them for their own purposes ... I'm very upset that I'm being used by the GOP this way."
On his support for President Obama on the issues: Anybody in the GOP who wants to stand with me, please stand with me. Stand with me for marriage equality, as Barack Obama stands up for. Stand with me for not turning the clock back on women in terms of medical issues, like Barack Obama is standing again. Stand with me on making healthcare more accessible to all. Stand with me for making college more affordable as President Obama is doing."
On his history with Obama: "I've been standing for Barack Obama before most peope were standing for Barack Obama, as one of his earliest supporters in New Jersey, his first major political endorsement."
On whether he was strong-armed into tonight's appearance by the Obama camp: "They have never pressured me to do anything ... I certainly did talk with campaign officials but they didn't force me to do anything. Especially after hearing the president's remarks on this issue, where he was not condemning all of private equity, he was not condemning any particular firms, he was focusing in on a guy who's bragging about his job creation record -- all of those things made me say, you know what, I need to go on and clarify."
On his own mistake of comparing the Obama campaign's attacks on Bain with conservative attacks on Obama over Jeremiah Wright: "Those can't even be equated. The noxious nature of some of the attacks that we've seen on our president, where if you even poll many people in the GOP who still believe he's a secret Muslim and these other things, it's gotten ridiculous. You can't even equate the negativity on the right with what's happening by sectors on the left."
On what he was really trying to say on Meet the Press: "My outrage and really my frustration was about the cynical negative campaigning and manipulating of the truth [on both sides]."
On the GOP's lack of interest in urban issues: "To say I stand with Cory Booker -- I have not seen a Republican national candidate, with maybe the exception of Jack Kemp a long time ago, willing to stand with me in places like Newark, New Jersey, Camden, New Jersey, Paterson -- places that often the GOP seems to want to imagine don't exist."
Of course, none of this is likely to discourage Republicans from gleefully continuing to use Booker's unfortunate remarks as a way to undermine the Obama campaign's attacks on Romney and Bain. In many ways, from Team Obama's point of view, the damage may already have been done.
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