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October 11th, 2012
12:14 PM ET

Newark Mayor Booker says he's looking for 'raw truth' in VP debate, says Obama has 'fine line to walk' in debates

This morning, Newark Mayor Cory Booker tells Soledad O'Brien on "Starting Point" what he's looking forward to seeing in tonight's highly anticipated vice presidential debate with Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan.

The pressure is focused in particular on Biden, who many expect will have to do the heavy lifting in terms of changing momentum after President Obama's much-criticized debate performance against Mitt Romney.

"If you want an authentic politician, there's no more raw, authentic politics than you get from the vice president," Booker says. "He is who he is. And I'm hoping that comes on tonight."

"What we need tonight is just a pure, unadulterated honesty from both sides. I do not want to see the Paul Ryan that I saw in the debate - in the convention speech, which had distortions of the truth, talking about steel mills closed under Bush, talking about Simpson-Bowles when he himself voted against it. I want to see the Paul Ryan back when he was unveiled the Ryan budget. Tell people the truth of really what you want to do to Medicare and Social Security, the kind of stuff you said until you were a candidate, and now you're trying to shift to the middle for votes. I want to hear the raw truth, because Americans are definitely going to have a real choice."

Booker argues that Obama's performance at the first debate was what one would expect from a president.

“I wasn't in the president's debate prep, but there is a lot of right advice on a president to stay presidential,” Mayor Booker says. “I remember when Romney said, ‘if that's right, president, I’ll hire a new accountant.’ I wanted to scream out, Obama, say, ‘keep your accountant. They're allowing you to pay only 13% in taxes. The rest of us should have accountants like that.’”

“But that's like a shot I don't want to hear from my president," Mayor Booker adds. "He's got a fine line to walk. The reality is I would have liked to see some hard punches to the gut when Romney would say something factual inaccurate, like President Obama was raiding $716 billion from Medicare, which is factually inaccurate. But I think the president learned a lot, he said it himself, from that first debate. I think the second one, you'll see him come out strong.”


Filed under: 2012 Race • Politics
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