05-22-2018  12:42 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family seeks answers after Oregon student injured on trip

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The family of an Oregon college student is searching for answers after the 22-year-old was found injured and unconscious near railroad tracks in Truckee, California.The Reno Gazette-Journal reports Aaron Salazar remains in the critical care unit at a hospital in Reno,...

Oregon mom raises awareness after baby dies from meningitis

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Summer Poff knew something was wrong with her 7-month-old son, Blaize, early in the morning on May 11.He was fussy, feverish and wouldn't go to sleep. The Salem mom tried to soothe her baby and gave him Tylenol, but at 3 a.m, she knew she needed to take him to the...

Lawsuit says Army Corps is failing to protect marine habitat

SEATTLE (AP) — Three conservation groups have sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, saying it fails to protect marine habitat because it doesn't adequately regulate seawalls and other structures built along many stretches of Puget Sound shoreline.Sound Action, Friends of the San Juans and...

Facelift of Seattle's Space Needle nears completion

SEATTLE (AP) — Tourism is booming in Seattle. Just take a look at the Space Needle.The family-owned landmark is set to unveil the biggest renovation in its 56-year history next month, a 0 million investment in a single year of construction that transformed the structure's top viewing...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Man charged with shooting at black teen waives hearing

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — A white suburban Detroit homeowner accused of shooting at a black teenager who came to his door to ask for directions will stand trial.Jeffrey Zeigler was bound over Tuesday to circuit court after waiving his preliminary examination on assault with intent to...

GLAAD study finds LGBTQ representation in film fell in 2017

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Despite high-profile Oscar wins for art house films like "Call Me By Your Name" and "A Fantastic Women," LGBTQ representation in films from the seven biggest Hollywood studios fell significantly in 2017 according to a study released Tuesday by the advocacy organization...

Black man ordered to pay [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 for racist campus graffiti

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A former Eastern Michigan University student who admitted to painting racist graffiti on campus has been ordered to pay more than [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 in restitution.The Ann Arbor News reports 29-year-old Eddie Curlin learned his punishment Monday after earlier pleading guilty to...

ENTERTAINMENT

Soccer star Brandi Chastain or Gary Busey? Fans pan plaque

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Social media is finding little to like about the likeness on a plaque honoring retired soccer champion Brandi Chastain.The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in San Francisco unveiled the plaque on Monday night. Chastain said, "It's not the most flattering. But it's nice."On...

Woman accuses R. Kelly of sexual battery, giving her herpes

NEW YORK (AP) — Singer R. Kelly sexually abused a woman, locked her in rooms and vehicles for punishment, and infected her with herpes, the woman said in a lawsuit filed in New York.Faith Rodgers said in the suit filed Monday that she met Kelly about a year ago after a concert in San...

A farewell to the road for Paul Simon

NEW YORK (AP) — Farewell tours don't always mean farewell, but are a ripe time for appreciation and appraisal. Paul Simon's concerts and a new biography offer the opportunity for both.Simon's "Homeward Bound" tour began last week in Vancouver and takes him across North America, to Europe and...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Soccer star Brandi Chastain or Gary Busey? Fans pan plaque

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Social media is finding little to like about the likeness on a plaque honoring retired...

Woman accuses R. Kelly of sexual battery, giving her herpes

NEW YORK (AP) — Singer R. Kelly sexually abused a woman, locked her in rooms and vehicles for punishment,...

APNewsbreak: Pentagon adopts new cellphone restrictions

WASHINGTON (AP) — After months of debate, the Defense Department approved Monday new restrictions for the...

Brazil leader won't seek re-election

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil's President Michel Temer is ending speculation that he might seek re-election...

Rights group: Rohingya insurgents massacred Myanmar Hindus

BANGKOK (AP) — Amnesty International said Wednesday that Myanmar's army was not the only group that has...

Romania court acquits Senate speaker of lying under oath

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A Romanian court has acquitted the Senate speaker of making false statements...

By Dan Merica CNN


Cory Booker already had a national identity before he decided to run for senator.

The media-savvy, tweet-happy mayor from Newark -- who easily won the New Jersey Democratic primary for Senate Tuesday -- has been known for his man-of-the-people streak, charismatic presence and social media intensity, or as some say, fixation.

But can he make the switch from a nationally popular hands-on mayor to the contentious spotlight of the United States Senate?

Booker, in his path to Tuesday's win, weathered a few negative headlines, but came out largely unscathed by his Democratic opponents. His Republican challenger, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, may be able to go after Booker for spending more time on his national profile than on running the city he leads.

But several polls show Booker running away with the special election on October 16 and becoming the first African-American elected to the Senate since Barack Obama.

Despite the possible attacks, experts in New Jersey politics and friends close to Booker tell CNN that there is little chance the mayor's national profile will diminish if he heads to the Senate later this year.

"I wouldn't expect those media requests are going to abate because he moved into a new role," said Andra Gillespie, a friend of Booker's and the author of "The New Black Politician: Cory Booker, Newark, and Post-Racial America."

But is that a good thing?

Elizabeth Warren or John Edwards?

When Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was elected to the Senate in 2012, she came in as someone with substantial liberal chops and national notoriety for her expertise on banking and consumer rights issues.

After arriving in the Senate, however, Warren shied away from national media attention and is no longer a regular on the interview circuit.

That likely won't be the case with Booker.

"The difference between him and Elizabeth Warren (is), he has already mastered social media and mainstream media in a way that she hasn't," Gillespie said.

In six years as Newark's mayor, Booker gained notoriety for an experiential kind of leadership. Late last year, the mayor lived on food stamps in order to show how difficult relying on the government program can be. From 1998 to 2006, Booker lived in a housing project as a way to connect with constituents.

These stories -- along with others -- have made Booker a household name in New Jersey and national politics.

On Twitter, the mayor has a massive 1.4 million followers and has sent more than 30,000 tweets in his time on the site. It isn't unusual to see Booker direct message constituents who tweet him with issues -- in fact, it has become part of his persona.

And that might be a problem for Booker. As a possible preview to attacks that could be leveled against the mayor in the future, Republicans have questioned how Booker could rise so high nationally from such an unusual perch.

"There is something decidedly odd about the whole Cory Booker phenomenon," wrote Stuart Stevens, a Republican strategist, in a Daily Beast opinion piece. "Someone who managed to become a national political figure as mayor of the nation's 67th-largest city, he is dangerously close to falling into the celebrity trap of being famous for being famous."

That idea -- that Booker is famous for being famous -- has begun to circle at home, too.

"The phrase that everyone has been throwing around here is workhorse vs. showhorse," said John Weingart, associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.

"I think he certainly has a unique path to political prominence," Weingart said. "People used to say being mayor of New York was a dead end job politically, but nobody ever said being mayor of Newark was a path to higher office. He has certainly had some accomplishment as mayor of Newark, but it is almost (that) his fame is on a separate track as his record from Newark."

In particular, Weingart notes, Booker is regularly in front of the camera on national news, but rarely to talk about Newark. Instead, he said, he is booked because of his charisma and ability to talk about Democratic politics, in general.

Gillespie thinks those critiques are somewhat unfair. Instead of comparing him to the media-shy Warren, the Booker chronicler said the more apt comparison is with former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

When Edwards was elected to the Senate in 1998, the North Carolinian was known as the charismatic lawyer who gained national attention for protecting patients' rights against doctors and hospitals in a 1985 case. When he got to the Senate, he became a party standout and was the champion of an issue that put him in front of cameras with some regularity: tort reform.

If Booker can find an issue, Gillespie said, the comparison with Edwards -- who ran for president in 2004 and 2008 -- could stick.

How far can Booker go?

Even when Booker was a Newark City Council member, people who came into contact with him said they could see him running for president someday.

"Having known him for a long time, people were talking about him being the first black president in 2001 and 2002," Gillespie said. "It is looking more plausible now."

Weingart shared a similar story.

"I think a small number of political figures who from the beginning of their career, lead people to say I can imagine him becoming president," Weingart said. "It has been true of Cory Booker."

Earlier this month, Booker ruled out the possibility of running for president in 2016. Asked by Politico whether he would rule out a presidential or vice presidential bid in the next election cycle, Booker responded with three words: "Absolutely yes, unequivocally."

But that doesn't mean never. And with the Democrats' markedly short bench on future presidential candidates, along with Booker's ability to command national attention and hefty amounts of fundraising dollars, the possibility is clearly there.

With those attributes comes another, more grandiose comparison, with President Barack Obama. Supporters, such as Gillespie, said the comparisons have to do with a mix of race, charisma and electoral history. And, of course, possible presidential aspirations.

But it is in that last regard that Gillespie looked to distance Booker from Obama.

"If Booker were to run in 2020, he would have served a full term as U.S. senator," she said, "which would be different than President Obama."

Last month, the two sides of Booker -- the political rising star and the national media figure -- came into conflict when a scheduling snafu for a speaking gig at the University of Iowa, the state that traditionally hosts the first caucus of the presidential election season, put his possible White House aspirations into focus.

All part of the game, says Weingart.

"I think Booker will have to face that," he said, referring to the mayor being asked about running for president "If he goes to Iowa, that will be looked at through the lens."

"The Democrats don't have a deep bench, so I think every conversation about the future of the party that extends past Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, he will be on the list."

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