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Tue Jan 14, 2020, 02:57 AM

Cory Booker Senator from New Jersey

This interview was conducted by the editorial board of The New York Times, which will announce its Democratic primary endorsement on Jan. 19.

'As Senator Cory Booker ended his presidential campaign on Monday, many wondered why his message wasn’t able to break through to more voters. That was a major question the editorial board [Related: What Is an Editorial Board?] was trying to get at when they met with the senator Dec. 17. His response then: Polling isn’t everything.

The New Jersey senator also had a detailed response on climate change and told a moving story of how his heart has been broken. We hope his baby bonds program will be the legacy of this campaign.

We’ve decided still to release the transcript because we thought, after the interview, that Senator Booker was an important voice in the race that had gotten lost on the debate stage.

Here is a transcript, with annotations in blue, of the 90-minute discussion, which was filmed for a special episode of “The Weekly,” The Times’s TV show on FX and Hulu. The transcript is unedited.

Kathleen Kingsbury: So Senator Booker, thank you so much for coming. We have heard, on the campaign trail and in the debates, you talk a lot about health care and climate and Middle East. So we’re trying to get at today some questions that we feel like haven’t been answered yet. I want to start — you’re running on a message of optimism and unity. Is the Democratic base just too fired up and angry right now to hear that message?“Courageous empathy” and unity have been buzzwords of Senator Booker’s campaign. In an early campaign video ad, he called on Americans to “channel our common pain back into our common purpose.”

So one of my favorite moments in the campaign was at the very beginning when I told my staff that I wasn’t changing. This is what I believe was not the message for the campaign, but what our nation needed as a whole. I said, no polls, no nothing. I want to talk to this urgent crisis we have in our country that we need to come together. Our enemies literally are seeing our divisions as an advantage and trying to fire them up on social media.

And so one of my very first time I was in Iowa, I was so excited, there was hundreds of people there and I’m charging, trotting now toward the stage, and a big guy sees me. I’m a large man, former tight end for Stanford. The older I get, the better I was. And I hope there’s at least one gift question about my football days, which won’t be fact-checked, I hope.

But he puts his arm around me. He goes, “Dude, I want you to punch Donald Trump in the face.” I was sort of taken by it, and I just smiled at him and I go, “Dude, that’s a felony.” . .

and when polls have always, except for a few exceptions, proven to be wrong about the Democratic Party. There has never been a president from our party in the lifetime of anybody around this table who’s ever gone from polling ahead right now to being president of the United States.'>>>


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