On Thursday, Booker appeared on CNN’s “New Day” to talk about the second Democratic debate that took place on Wednesday. Host John Berman addressed the several mentions of Obama during the debate and told Booker that he heard critiques that Obama was too far right.
In response, Booker said that he missed Obama and that while he wasn’t “perfect,” he “would take him back. Heck, if [Obama] was running for president for a third term, I wouldn’t be running.”
The presidential hopeful went on to say that Trump “is a guy that my Republican colleagues can’t even criticize when he’s preaching racism.”
Booker later added: “The reality is we have a situation right now where the president is doing things to this country that are perverting our very values and ideals, and talking about what our plans would be, different than the previous president; different than the current president, is not a bad thing.”
On Wednesday, Booker went head to head with former Vice President Joe Biden over several issues, getting particularly heated on criminal justice.
“If you want to compare records ― and frankly, I’m shocked that you do ― I am happy to do that,” said Booker at one point.
Ahead of the debate, Booker called Biden’s new criminal justice proposal “an inadequate solution to what is a raging crisis in our country.” In response, Biden’s team said “the absurdity of this attack” was “obvious.”
Booker went on the offensive with Biden on the issue, calling out the 76-year-old’s past positions.
“Since the 1970s, every crime bill, major and minor, has had his name on it,” said Booker. “And those are your words, not mine. And this is one of those instances where the house was set on fire and you claimed responsibility for those laws. And you can’t just now come out with a plan to put out that fire.”
When Biden responded, he defended himself by saying what he believes about the issue now and called out Booker for not doing enough to reform Newark, New Jersey, when he was mayor.
Booker pushed back hard, saying: “There’s a saying in my community that you’re dipping into the Kool-Aid, and you don’t even know the flavor. You are trying to shift the view from what you created.”
“There are people right now in prison for life, for drug offenses because you stood up and used that tough-on-crime phony rhetoric that got a lot of people elected but destroyed communities like mine. This isn’t about the past. This is about the present right now,” he said.