Booker: ‘Now is not the time’ to talk about Syria

HACKENSACK – Mayor Cory Booker, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, did not express his views this afternoon when asked how he would vote on a use of force resolution in Syria.

“I have a lot of thoughts about Syria but now is not the time,” Booker told PolitickerNJ.com as he left a campaign event he had scheduled here with working-class allies.

As Booker headed out a side door of the Arena Diner, PolitickerNJ.com asked him if he would support a use of force resolution sought by President Barack Obama and championed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

Booker kept moving.

Menendez yesterday said Congress would pursue a resolution to punish the Assad Regime. The resolution would specifically omit the need for American boots on the ground and would consist of surgical air strikes on military targets.

The senator said he hoped to see a markup of the resolution as early as today.

Secretary of State John Kerry told Menendez’s committee that he was absolutely convinced the Assad Regime gassed and killed nearly 1,500 of its own people in direct contravention of international law.

Booker’s GOP opponent, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, opposes a missile strike on Syria, and quarrels with Kerry’s refusal to call a strike what it is: war.

“Whether Secretary Kerry admits it or not, a missile strike is an act of war,” said Lonegan. “The American people will not be dragged into another ill-advised war. A missile strike would increase the likelihood of both an al-Qaeda regime in Syria and the likelihood that the President would call for boots on the ground.

“The American people do not want another war. We cannot afford another war. I will continue to stand for the interests of the American people in our foreign policy and for individual liberty at home. Cory Booker will not take a stand on this missile strike other than timidly deferring to President Obama’s whims.”

Also in opposition to the use of force is U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who yesterday told Kerry that he fails to see the American strategic interest in punishing Syria.

"Sit down and shut up!"
—Gov. Chris Christie, to a Hurricane Sandy heckler