WASHINGTON, D.C. – Newark Mayor Cory Booker made a grand entrance at tonight’s New Jersey State Society inaugural, posing for dozens of pictures and interviews all before he made it to the ballroom.
Booker said he was excited to be in town for the inauguration of president Obama, adding that a second term for any president is special, but for this president it is “an extraordinary event.”
Booker, who was by far the most notable Democrat in the room at Sunday’s event, has been on the receiving end of barbs from some in his party for his handling of his potential run for governor. Booker announced last month that he would forego a challenge to Republican Gov. Chris Christie and instead planned to run for the Senate seat held by Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
Earlier this month, Booker opened his Senate fundraising account, leading some to believe he was moving too fast in trying to unseat Lautenberg. Asked about the controversy, Booker demurred, saying “tonight’s about the president of the United States and celebrating in New Jersey and that’s where I’m going to focus.”
Asked if he planned to endorse in the governor’s race, where state Sen. Barbara Buono is to date the only declared Democratic candidate, Booker punted a second time, saying his focus was on the president.
“Tonight is really about focusing on the president, so that’s where my joy, spirit and energy is right now,” he said, adding that he had just flown in from his grandmother’s 95th birthday celebration.
“I’m about to fall over. The more I talk to you the more likely I am to make news and I’m trying not to do that tonight,” he said.