Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

Cory Booker makes gun debate personal in Miami

On a crowded debate stage, Booker stood near front and center and managed to grab several moments in the spotlight in a two-hour span, during which he spoke for nearly 11 minutes — the longest of any candidate.
Sen. Cory Booker. [AL DIAZ | Miami Herald]
Sen. Cory Booker. [AL DIAZ | Miami Herald]
Published Jun. 27, 2019

When the question of how to address gun violence in the U.S. reached Sen. Cory Booker, he made the answer personal, recalling when he heard gunshots in his Newark, New Jersey neighborhood.

“I think I’m the only ... I hope I’m the only one on this panel here that had seven people shot in their neighborhood just last week,” he said. “Someone I knew, Shahid Smith, was killed with an assault rifle at the top of my block last year.”

On a crowded debate stage, Booker stood near front and center and managed to grab several moments in the spotlight in a two-hour span, during which he spoke for nearly 11 minutes — the longest of any candidate, according to a New York Times analysis. He used that time to stake out positions on gun control, LGBTQ rights, immigration and the economy.

On guns, he wrapped his wide-ranging gun policy neatly into one comparison.

“If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and own a firearm,” Booker said.

The moment appears to be one of several that steered viewers to look him up. Late Wednesday, Google reported that Booker was the most searched candidate during the debate.

The 50-year-old former Newark mayor did not seem to make any missteps and found few challenges on the debate stage. When the moderators asked him if he believed pharmaceutical companies — several of which are based in New Jersey and have supported his past political campaigns — should be held responsible for the opioid crisis, he answered directly.

“They should absolutely be held criminally liable, because they are liable and responsible,” he said. ”This is one of the reasons why well before I was running for president I said I would not take contributions from pharma companies, not take contributions from corporate PACs, or pharma executives, because they are part of this problem.”

On social issues, he highlighted the worries of children in the LGBTQ community who skip school for fear of being bullied.

“We don’t talk enough about the trans community, especially the African-American trans community,” he said.

Booker, who has built his reputation on social media, has centered his campaign on building bridges and finding a “common purpose” across political divides. He found himself alone on one question posed by moderators — whether he would rejoin the Iran nuclear deal as it was originally written.

When every other candidate raised their hands, Booker’s remained down. The reason? To leverage better terms. Other candidates shifted toward similar answers when it was their turn to speak.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Visitors head to Florida's Old Capitol building on Tuesday, the first day of the annual session. The same day, the advocacy group Equality Florida denounced four bills filed by Republican lawmakers, calling them “the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida legislature in recent memory.” [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Most of the bills try to eliminate local ordinances, and Republicans say they’ve been unfairly labeled.
  2. Attorney Joseph Bondy tweeted this photo of his client, Lev Parnas (right) with former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi on Friday, Jan. 17. Bondi on Friday was named on of President Donald Trump's impeachment lawyers. [Twitter]
    Parnas’ lawyer tweeted out the photo of the former Florida attorney general along with #TheyAllKnew.
  3. Florida Senator Rob Bradley, R- Fleming Island, watches the action on the first day of the session, 1/14/2020.  [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    A popular bill would allow judges to dole out punishments less than the mandatory minimum sentences spelled out in state law for many drug crimes if the defendant meets certain criteria.
  4. Vice President Mike Pence take selfies with supporters after giving a campaign speech during the "Keep America Great" rally at the Venetian Event Center at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, January 16, 2020.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    ‘Come November the American people are going to have our say,’ Pence said.
  5. Rep. Stan McClain, an Ocala Republican, presents a bill that would allow Florida public colleges and universities to sponsor charter schools, during a January 2020 meeting of the House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    Alternative authorizers have been found unconstitutional in the past. But that isn’t stopping the effort.
  6. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, members of the Florida Cabinet, left, and the Florida Supreme Court, right, stand at attention as the colors are posted in the Florida Senate during the first day of the Florida legislative session in Tallahassee, Tuesday, January 14, 2020.  [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    The court ruled that Amendment 4‘s “all terms of sentence” include the payment of all court fees, fines and restitution.
  7. Thousands rallied and marched from the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center to the Florida Historic Capitol to demand more money for public schools Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Thousands of school workers from around the state thronged Florida's Capitol on Monday to press Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature to more than double the nearly $1 billion the governor is proposing for teacher raises and bonuses.  (Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via AP) [TORI LYNN SCHNEIDER  |  AP]
    The PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee cutting exercise would come in nearly 25 percent below Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal.
  8. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,, center, speaks as fellow candidates businessman Tom Steyer, from left, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. listen, Tuesday during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
    The candidates’ proposals reveal differences in how they plan to approach the issue.
  9. Vice President Mike Pence points to supporters before speaking during a campaign rally at the Huntington Center, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) [TONY DEJAK  |  AP]
    Vice President Mike Pence will take the stage in New Tampa, at the Venetian Event Center at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, at 1:30 p.m. It wasn’t planned that way.
  10. <Samsung D70 / D75 / S730 / S750>
    For the first time since he was nominated by Gov. Ron DeSantis for the job of Florida Surgeon General, Scott Rivkees appeared before senators to answer questions that have been percolating for nine...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement